Aug. 24 fire leaves family of four homeless

Firefighters spray a hot spot that re-ignited in a house/commercial structure on Bridge St. in Malvern Aug. 24.
By Carol McIntire


Firefighters spray a hot spot that re-ignited in a house/commercial structure on Bridge St. in Malvern Aug. 24.

MALVERN – Firefighters from four departments battled a fire Aug. 24 in downtown Malvern that destroyed a residence and former commercial business.

Great Trail Fire District Chief Ralph Castellucci said his department was called to the blaze at 116 N. Bridge St. at 4:27 p.m. and within three minutes he was at the scene.

“The fire was through the roof when I arrived,” he said. “It started in the area of the garage attached to the personal residence. It was pretty intense.”

Two adults and two children were home when the fire broke out and called the fire department, Castellucci said. He said the owner arrived home 20-30 minutes before the fire started.

Thirty-six firefighters from Great Trail, Sandy Creek and Mohawk Valley fire districts and Magnolia fire departments battled the blaze for several hours.

“The extreme temperatures coming off the structure made it difficult to battle the fire,” Castellucci said. “We also had to work around the power and gas lines. The one side of the building is located right along the bank of Sandy Creek and we didn’t have access to that side of the house. That hampered our access to the fire.”

Minerva’s ladder truck was used to spray water from above the building on the Sandy Creek side and another truck was set up to spray water from another angle onto the fire.

“We had to try to feed water onto the fire without taking too much water from the community water supply,” Castelluci said. “It took a large amount of water to extinguish the fire.”

The chief estimated the size of the commercial building at 100 feet by 45 or 50 feet. Part of that structure was two stories. The residence and a two-stall garage were attached. The structure and contents were a total loss, including two vehicles parked in the garage. Three nearby residences were damaged in the fire.

Castellucci said the home was covered by insurance.

Donations are being accepted for the family. Sizes include a man’s size 32×32 pants, large shirt and 10.5 shoes; women’s large tops and maternity pants, size 7 shoes; kids size 8 clothes and 3T. Kids shoe size 1 youth.

Donations can be dropped off at 1366 Pleasant Ridge Street SE, Minerva, or at Candlewood Suites in Carrollton where Eric and Kara are staying.