A York City fire that left eight people without a home has been ruled an accident.

Fire crews were dispatched around 5 p.m. Saturday to a home in the 400 block of East Market Street. The third floor of an apartment unit was on fire -- and with buildings attached on either side, crews had to act quickly to keep the blaze from spreading, said York City Fire Chief David Michaels.

The fire was knocked down in about 15 minutes, he said.

"The fire was contained in that third-floor unit," he said.

It also helped that the family was home at the time and could make a quick 911 call, Michaels said. The cause of the fire was an overheated extension cord, he said, and damage is estimated at $50,000.

No injuries were reported, but five adults and three kids were displaced from a total of three apartment units, Michaels said. The Red Cross was on scene and helping the families, he said.

The family: The fire was the result of either a space heater or surge protector not working properly, said Rebecca and Kevin Thoman, who lived in the apartment for seven years.

Unfortunately, there was a casualty in the blaze: A Guinea pig that was a Christmas present for the children could not be saved, Rebecca Thoman said.

They said their children -- ages 6, 8 and 12 -- are homeschooled. Their books were destroyed, and their school computers were salvaged but not yet determined to be in working condition, she said.


She and her husband were at the apartment Sunday afternoon, going through what was left of their clothing before washing it and seeing what could be saved.

"I don't think I will ever look at a space heater the same way again," she said.

The family is in need of clothing and other supplies lost in the fire. To donate, call 225-5841.

-- Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.