6 homeless in fire Rush Twp. residence destroyed
RUSH TOWNSHIP - A Mennonite family who helps operate Crest Haven Farm Market was left homeless Saturday night when fire destroyed their ranch-style home along a rural road behind the popular store along Route 54.
Firefighters from several municipalities in Northumberland and Montour counties endured below-freezing temperatures for more than three hours before bringing the blaze under control.
Left homeless in the 6 p.m. fire were Marvin Eshbach, 30; his wife, Janelle, 28; and their four boys, ages 2, 4, 6 and 7, of 58 Crest Haven Road. The Eshbachs were at the farm market when the fire broke out.
Two firefighters sustained
minor injuries and were treated at the scene. No other injuries were reported despite intense heat from the flames, heavy smoke, icy conditions and bone-chilling temperatures.
Flames could be seen for miles by motorists traveling Route 54 between Riverside and Elysburg as fire consumed all sections of the home.
Firefighters attacked the blaze from the front, back and sides of the home. Water was shuttled in engines from a fill site at the former Cherokee Golf Course along Route 54 before being pumped into a temporary holding tank known as a water pond.
Dispatched to the scene by Montour County Communications Center were personnel from Southside Fire Company of Riverside, Elysburg and Ralpho fire companies, Mahoning Township Fire Company, four fire stations in Danville and Danville Ambulance.
In addition to the quick response and brave efforts of firefighters, several Mennonite families who live in the area congregated at the scene to offer their assistance and provide comfort to the Eshbachs.
According to neighbors, the Eshbachs resided in the one-story dwelling for several years. Marvin and Janelle Eshbach work at Crest Haven Farm Market, which is operated by Marvin's family.
The Eshbachs reportedly are staying with relatives.
Southside Fire Company Chief Butch Kriner, who directed firefighting efforts at the scene, said the fire started in a breezeway at the rear of the home when a wood stove reportedly malfunctioned.
He said a neighbor alerted Marvin Eshbach about the fire while he was working at the market.
"When Mr. Eshbach went to the house, he said flames were shooting from the eaves," Kriner said. "Flames were shooting through the roof when I arrived."
Kriner said the fire wasn't declared under control until 9:30 p.m. He said firefighters cleared the scene at 9:45 p.m., but members of the Mennonite church community remained in the area overnight to check for flare-ups.
The fire chief said the Eshbachs purchased the home several years ago for approximately $136,000. He estimated the value of the contents of the residence at $15,000 to $20,000.
Kriner said the Eshbachs are insured through the Mennonite church and community.