LEHMAN TWP. — A fire that began in the basement of 7 Vine St. and stretched to the second floor could have been much worse if the homeowner had stayed longer at a gym.
Firefighters throughout the Back Mountain responded to the blaze in the Oak Hill section of Lehman Township at about 10 a.m.
The fire started in the basement near a wood burner and quickly spread to the second floor through the walls, said Back Mountain Regional Fire Battalion Chief Bill Hagenbaugh. It took firefighters about 30 minutes and 100 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze.
“It was the resident of the home who called 911,” Hagenbaugh said. “He came home from the gym and saw smoke in his house.”
Luzerne County property records list James Ready, 29, as the home’s owner.
Ready and his fiancee are set to be married within the month, Hagenbaugh said. They were in the process of remodeling the house that Ready purchased in 2006, property records show.
Ready used three fire extinguishers in an attempt to douse the flames. He was treated at the scene by paramedics for minor smoke inhalation, Hagenbaugh said.
A dog and a cat were unaccounted for, but Hagenbaugh believed Ready was able to free the animals.
“They were remodeling the house,” said Hagenbaugh. “It’s a little bit of a setback for them. They are very fortunate the gentleman came home and found the fire.”
Firefighters broke the second-floor windows to vent the smoke-filled house. Three water tanker trucks were on standby, as the neighborhood does not have fire hydrants.
“The house, after it gets reconditioned by smoke and electrical contractors, they’d be able to live in the home,” Hagenbaugh said.
The damage consisted of heavy smoke and water damage on the first floor and basement, he said.
No other injuries were reported.