Stoltz Of Coudersport

Bokman of Wellsville

E & G

Java With JVB, Coudersport

Howard's Inc, Coudersport, PA

Learn IRA Basics, new 2020 rules for IRAs, and answers to frequently asked IRA questions at JAVA with JVB, on Tuesday, February 25, at 12:15 pm, at the JVB Coudersport office on East Second Street. Light refreshments will be served along with Java, of course! See you there!

St. Bibiana's Famous Fish Fry

St. Bibiana's Famous Fish Fry

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JVB

Learn IRA Basics, new 2020 rules for IRAs, and answers to frequently asked IRA questions at JAVA with JVB, on Tuesday, February 25, at 12:15 pm, at the JVB Coudersport office on East Second Street. Light refreshments will be served along with Java, of course! See you there!

Southern Tier Polaris, Olean, NY

Fat Tuesday Smorgasbord Feast

Fat Tuesday Smorgasbord Feast

Do You Know: You can buy this marquee ad on Solomon's words for the wise for your business or event for only $10. per day! It's just one of the low cost advertising options available. Your ad is viewed 40,000 to 70,000 times every day. Email us for information on other ad locations.

Solomon's Auction & Yard Sale Page

UPMC Cole

Saturday, February 16, 2008

10 Homeless In Mainesburg House Fire

Valentine’s Day fire leaves 10 homeless

By CHERYL R. CLARKE cclarke@sungazette.com

MAINESBURG — An outdoor wood burning stove is believed to have caused a fire Thursday morning in Sullivan Township near here that burned a home to the ground.

Mansfield Hose Company Chief Jim Welch said the fire was reported about 11 a.m. Thursday at the home of John Spencer on Windy Hill Road, a private drive off Connelly Mountain Road, about four miles from here.

About 30 firefighters responded to the two-alarm fire to find the five-bedroom, 5,300-square foot wood frame house engulfed in flames. The roof already had begun collapsing by the time the first crews arrived, he added.

Extra tankers and engines were summoned from Wellsboro, Blossburg and Daggett as well as Troy.

Welch said that, according to the homeowner, the fire started in the outdoor wood burning stove.

‘‘They said they found the fire, and by the time they got outside it was already well on its way,’’ he said. The house was a total loss, he added.

Welch said the outdoor furnace had been placed on a small deck and the previous owner had enclosed it in a small structure that was attached to the house.

‘‘They also had a coal stove and an oil burner as well in the house,’’ he said.

Welch said he didn’t know how old the house was, but ‘‘not very, maybe 10 years old,’’ he said.

Since the house sat atop a hill, firefighters were hampered by light winds that fanned the flames, he added.

Although firefighters were unable to save the structure, two tractors, a horse trailer, and an above ground pool all positioned in close proximity to the structure were saved.

It took until about 2 p.m. to get the fire out and clean up the scene, he said.

The homeowners, John and Karen Spencer, who just moved here last month from Belvedere, N.J., have eight children of their own, Karen Spencer said in a telephone interview Friday. They were in the midst of adding onto the home to accommodate all of their children.

Karen Spencer, a former teacher, home-schools all eight, she said.

The youngest five of the Spencer children, Tabitha, 17, Theresa, 16, Jason, 13, Jacob, 11, Thecia, 9, Joshua, 7, Joseph, 6, Tahlea, 4, were home at the time the fire started, and two of the children discovered the fire, Karen Spencer said.

She said she had sent the two older children outside to move some items out of the driveway because they were expecting a delivery of wood for the furnace, and as they were outside, one of them ‘‘saw the chimney catch on fire.’’

She said she had been getting ready to take her bedridden husband, a retired backhoe and heavy equipment operator, to a doctor’s appointment after he hurt his back last week, and ran outside barefoot when her son came running in yelling ‘‘emergency, the chimney’s on fire!’’

‘‘By then, the roof of the addition to the house was on fire and the sidewall was starting to go. I tried to throw buckets of water on it but it was futile,’’ she said.

Mrs. Spencer said she instructed Thecia to take the little ones outside.

‘‘They went out in the snow in their little ‘crocs,’ and my 11-year-old, (Jacob) grabbed some of their coats and took them out and we told them to get to the pickup truck,’’ she said.

The only problem — she didn’t have the keys and she couldn’t get back into the house by the nearest door because of the flames and smoke.

She said she ran around to the kitchen door on the other side of the house after checking the front door, which was locked, and went in to grab the keys off the counter along with a few other items, including her Bible, and ran back out the door, suffering minor burns in her efforts.

She returned to the truck to find John in the front seat and all five of the children and their dog Zelli in the back seat.

The family’s cats perished because they went running up into the loft Mrs. Spencer said.

‘‘I threw their shoes in the back and pulled the truck out of the garage, and drove into the side yard away from the flames,’’ she said

The wind blew the fire ‘‘right through the house,’’ as the family watched, she said.

The family lost all their possessions, including ‘‘boxes and boxes of books’’ used for the children’s lessons, she said.

The structure was insured and the family plans to rebuild, she said.

Neighbors and the American Red Cross in Wellsboro have helped with basic needs, such as temporarily housing them at the Comfort Inn, she said.

‘‘My neighbor Nancy Cross came and brought food and clothing some of which I am wearing right now,’’ she said.

The former owner and builder of the house, Scott Smith, also brought water and sodas and ‘‘people we hadn’t even met were just so wonderful,’’ she added.

The public can contact the Red Cross, 61 Main St., Wellsboro, at 724-2941, to donate cash or items to help the Spencer family.

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