|
Middletown Transcript
  • Firefighters save century-old farmhouse near Odessa

  • A 114-year-old farm house near Odessa sustained only minor damage in a fire that destroyed three nearby vehicles and spread to an adjacent cornfield late Thursday afternoon.
    • email print
  • A 114-year-old farm house near Odessa sustained only minor damage in a fire that destroyed three nearby vehicles and spread to an adjacent cornfield late Thursday afternoon.
    “The house could have burned up, the man inside could have died and this could have been catastrophic,” property owner S.R. Smith said after the blaze was extinguished. “I can’t say enough about what a great job these firefighters did to keep this fire under control. If I had a few cases of beer, I would have handed them out to these guys.”
    Richard Trincia Jr., the deputy fire chief of Odessa Fire Company, said the fire started just before 5 p.m. in an abandoned camper parked less than 10 feet away from the two-story farm house.
    The blaze spread to an abandoned pick-up truck and car also parked next to the house and quickly swept across the cornfield next door, but caused minimal damage to the home, he said.
    Nearly 50 firefighters from Odessa, Townsend, Middletown, Clayton and Port Penn managed to bring the fire under control in about a half hour.
    Smith, meanwhile, used his farm tractor to extinguish the flames in the cornfield, which managed to burn a swath several hundred feet wide, thanks to a steady breeze.
    “The field fire won’t cause any damage,” he said. “Years ago, farmers would burn their fields all the time to add nutrients to the ground. I was just worried about it spreading to the neighbors.”
    Ronald Nickle, the lone resident of the farm house for the past 30 years, said he had been watching television when he heard an explosion just a few feet from his head.
    “I thought maybe it was a jet, that’s how loud it was,” the 73-year-old said. “I ran outside and there it was; the camper was on fire.”
    Nickle said he ran to get a garden house, but slipped on the wet ground, resulting in a minor laceration to his face.
    “After I got up, I saw the fire trucks coming down the road, so I just left it to them,” he said.
    Afterward, Nickle said he had no idea what might have caused the camper to catch fire.
    “It’s been years since I even looked in there because the floor was rotting out and it just made me sick to even look at it,” he said. “I’m just glad the flames didn’t get to the fuel tanks that sit on the corner of the house or I would have gone up with it.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The blaze is currently under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office.
      • calendar