NEW GARDEN -A Monday afternoon fire of unknown origin caused limited damage to the state Route 172 home of Joseph and Cristi Mayle.
"It was starving for air when we got there," Hanover Township Fire Chief Frank Baker said of the fire that started in the basement family room and was largely contained there. "It could have been worse."
The fire spread up the basement stairway to the first floor of the ranch-style home and then up a ceiling vent into the attic, where smoke billowing from the roof ridge vent caught the attention of passing motorists Jim and Twila Grindle, who called 911 at 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Grindle pulled over and ran to the door and began knocking. "I didn't know if anyone was inside, so I just kicked in the door," he said. "I was worried about somebody being in there."
Although no one was home, the Mayle's German shepherd was inside. Mr. Grindle, who lives on Hawk Road in Knox Township, said he tried to coax the dog out, but the animal would not move, so he tried to rescue the dog himself.
"I held my breath but I couldn't get in there because of the smoke," he said.
By then, the first wave of firefighters arrived and one of them put on an air pack and was able to rescue the dog.
"It made it out and was doing fine when we left," Baker said of the German shepherd.
The basement family room sustained heavy fire damage, while the first floor and attic had smoke and heat damage. Only about 200 gallons of water were needed to extinguish what remained of the blaze and hot spots.
Baker said the state Fire Marshal's Office sent an inspector to the scene and issued a preliminary ruling declaring the cause of the fire was undetermined, although the investigation into the cause continues.
Also responding to the fire besides Hanover were the Winona and North Georgetown fire departments, with firefighters from the latter refilling the air packs.