Several FFs injured battling blaze at historic Pa. building

Firefighter crews from 15 departments helped battle the blaze at Hellam Township's Horn Farm Center

Harper Ho
The York Dispatch

HELLAM TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Lightning caused the blaze that destroyed the historic Horn Farm Center late Monday night in Hellam Township.

"The cause of the fire is determined to be a lightning strike," said Chief Eric Strittmatter, of the Hellam Fire Company.

There was fire throughout the third floor that had already breached the roof by the time fire fighters arrived Strittmatter said, who estimated $400,000 in damages.

"Tonight's turn of events is truly a test of our resilience. While we are devastated, we are incredibly thankful for the outpouring of support, prayers, and well wishes from our community," Alexis Campbell, the center's executive director, announced in a Facebook post.

Crews from 15 different fire departments responded about 9 p.m. to the fire and worked about 3 hours to finish the job, Strittmatter said.

Several firefighters suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene, he said, adding the first and second fire sustained smoke and water damage.

"What we do know now is that the third and second floor of the historic farmhouse building (our office building) have been destroyed," Campbell said.

The Horn Center is a nonprofit that preserves wild spaces while growing food and teaching young people about agriculture and environmental stewardship.

"We are also endlessly grateful to the dozens of local fire companies, who worked through the night to get fire under control," Campbell said.

She reported that no one was injured and the organization was able to salvage the most important files, paperwork, archives, framed photos and maps.

"We have a long road ahead of us, but we know the future is bright," Campbell said. "I am absolutely certain that together we will persevere. Let the ashes of this tragedy be fertile soil for our future growth and community."

The nonprofit is accepting donations via its website and patreon.


(c)2021 The York Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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