An elderly couple escaped injury Tuesday morning when their Fairview Township home was destroyed by fire.

Firefighters were called to the 400 block of Valley Road just before 7 a.m., Fairview Township Fire Chief Chris Weidenhammer said.

"When we arrived, the trailer was fully involved," he said.

Crews mounted an exterior attack, but the mobile home couldn't be saved, according to the chief.

"The trailer is actually on farm property the couple's children (own)," Weidenhammer said, so the elderly couple will be staying in the main farm house.

The York-Adams chapter of the American Red Cross is assisting the couple with clothing and other needs, he said.

Furnace malfunction: Weidenhammer said it appears the fire was sparked by a propane furnace inside the home.

"(The residents) actually saw the furnace catch fire," he said. "A propane line might have been leaking and found an ignition source. We've ruled it accidental."

Flames were very quick-moving, he said, likely partially due to leaking propane.

"Then we had two large propane cylinders outside," Weidenhammer said. "One exploded. ... They can fly a hundred feet in the air when they explode."

Luckily, the exploding cylinder remained on the ground, although its top flew off, according to the chief. Both propane cylinders had just been refilled, he said.


"We kept a steady stream of water on the second one to keep it from exploding too," Weidenhammer said.

Damage estimate: He estimated damaged at $100,000 — $75,000 for the high-end mobile home and $25,000 for the contents inside.

The couple had completely redone the mobile home, the chief said.

Assisting Fairview Township firefighters at the scene were crews from the Army Depot, New Cumberland, Goldsboro, Newberry Township and Lisburn, he said.

Yesterday's heat wasn't much of a problem at the Valley Road fire, according to Weidenhammer.

"It was pretty early in the morning and it was an exterior attack," he said.

Crews cleared the scene about 9:30 a.m.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at