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Breaking News After domestic dispute call, fire guts house on 2nd Street

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By Jenny Hartley

Lancaster County sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic dispute at a 2nd Street home where a fire later destroyed the house.

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The fire started at Parnell Strain’s home about 4:20 p.m. Monday, said Darren Player, deputy director for Lancaster County Fire Service. That was 70 minutes after  officers responded to the house at 1131 2nd St. because of a reported domestic dispute, according to Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office incident reports.

Strain told deputies that his girlfriend, Ashley Kirkley, 23, used a hammer to destroy several things in the house and threatened him with a knife. Strain also told officers that Kirkley broke the back windshield of his car.

According to the reports, Kirkley told officers that Strain became violent after they began arguing about a phone call he had received from another woman.

When deputies arrived, they found Kirkley holding a knife, the reports said. She told officers that she was holding the knife in self defense until help arrived.

Due to the conflicting stories from Strain and Kirkley, deputies did not arrest anyone, according to the reports.

The reports said that a deputy loaned Kirkley a cigarette lighter when she said she wanted to smoke. Kirkley said she needed to go into the house to get her cell phone and was in the house for about two minutes before coming out, the reports said.

A short time later, fire departments responded to the scene.

Strain, 34, said he had lived in the home for seven years. He was able to get his two poodles out of the garage and two pit bulls from the backyard but couldn’t save anything else from the blaze.

“I haven’t even been back in the house,” Strain said, as smoke poured from his home. “Everything else I got is destroyed.”

Gooches, Riverside, McDonald Green and the city of Lancaster’s fire departments responded to the fire, along with Lancaster County Fire Service. Smoke poured out of the home’s chimney and billowed from the eaves.

Lancaster Fire Department firefighter Tony Gainer shot water onto the roof with the department’s pumper truck. The force of the water peeled shingles off the roof and sent them flying.

Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder said there was a gas stove on inside the home, and with low manpower to start off with, it was too dangerous to make an interior attack on the fire.

“We just stayed outside and did a defensive attack,” Blackwelder said, keeping an eye on the chimney, which was leaning where holes were already burned into the roof.

“There it goes, it just fell,” Blackwelder said, as the chimney collapsed. “It’s better for it to fall while we’re all out here.”

Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said Tuesday that the fire was still under investigation. Player said the State Law Enforcement Division was also investigating the scene.

Player said one of the doors on a Gooches Volunteer Fire Department truck came open while en route to the fire. A generator fell out of the truck and hit a car near Temple Baptist Church on Old Landsford Road. The driver of the car was not hurt, Player said.

Contact senior reporter Jenny Hartley at jhartley@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1151