Blaze destroys Franandel Drive home

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Small bridge hampers effort to fight fire

By Greg Summers

A fire that was too far gone when it was reported, destroyed a home Wednesday afternoon, said Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder.

It only took firefighters about 20 minutes to contain the fire that started inside a Franandel Drive home and quickly spread, engulfing the structure in flames, he said.

Franandel Drive is off Lynnwood Drive, just south of Lancaster County Animal Shelter. 

“A volunteer firefighter saw a column of smoke and went to see what it was,” Blackwelder said. “It was half involved when he found it. There wasn’t really much we could do by that time. The fire had a head start.”

No one was hurt in the blaze, which was reported at 3:54 p.m. Wednesday. Blackwelder said the homeowner was not there when the fire started and is out of state. 

“From what we understand, she is in Tennessee, but we have talked with her,” he said. 

Blackwelder said volunteer firefighters from Elgin, Gooches Crossroads and McDonald Green, as well as the county fire service, encountered an extra obstacle at the scene.

“There was a driveway bridge that would not support the weight of a pumper truck. Our folks pulled about 450 feet of hose to a main (pumper) and worked several lines from it. They used one of our pickups to help lay the hose as quickly as possible,” Blackwelder said. 

“Water was shuttled to the scene and we used about 9,300 gallons.”  

Blackwelder said the home and its contents, with an estimated value of about $100,000, was a total loss. 

Firefighters left the scene about 7:20 p.m.

According to a Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office incident report, the fire does not appear to be suspicious.

Blackwelder said initial finds show it may have started in the area of a linen closet near an electrical panel. As of Thursday, Oct. 24, the cause of the fire had not been determined.

“Everything points that way, but at this time, we just cannot definitively say it started there,” Blackwelder said.  


Contact copy editor Greg Summers at (803) 283-1156