A eastern Berks County family lost nearly all their possessions in a garage fire that was discovered late Wednesday, Aug. 5, as they were preparing to move, officials said Aug. 6.
Eastern Berks Fire Department was dispatched Aug. 5 at about 10:15 p.m. to the home on Crescent Lane, a long drive off Lenape Road, in Washington Township.
One of the homeowners discovered the fire in the garage and called 9-1-1, reporting a trash can was on fire and flames were spreading to the structure, Chief Mike Mutter said.
The first deputy chief on the scene requested a second alarm and a tanker brigade to shuttle water to the site, fire officials said.
The second alarm drew additional crews from Berks, as far as Exeter Township and Mount Penn, as well as crews from Montgomery and Lehigh counties.
A tanker shuttle dumped water into two portable ponds set up on Lenape Road to supply an Eastern Berks engine. Firefighters needed to stretch a large-diameter hose the length of the nearly 1,000-foot-long driveway, Mutter said.
Although crews were able to contain the fire to the garage and part of the roof of the living quarters, the family lost nearly all their possessions, which had been moved into the garage in preparation for a move.
Two vehicles parked in front of the garage also were destroyed.
The woman who discovered the fire was so distraught that she suffered a medical episode and was taken by ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital, near Allentown, the chief said.
The homeowners had completed some renovations to the living quarters but were still living there when the fire broke out, Mutter said.
Damage from the fire rendered the home uninhabitable, Mutter said.
State Police reported that the damage is estimated at $400,000. The investigation continues into the cause of the fire.
Berks County property records list the homeowners as Robert and Christine Blair.
The family, including a teen daughter, were staying with neighbors.