Fire damages Wellsville home

Wellsville firefighters stand outside a Commerce Street home after a fire there Wednesday. (Photo by Steve Rappach)

WELLSVILLE — Officials are trying to determine the cause of a fire to a Commerce Street home Wednesday afternoon in which two small animals perished.

Fire crews were called around 2:15 p.m. to 533 Commerce St. for a fire that had taken place on the top floor of the two-story home. About nine firefighters from Wellsville, utilizing two engines and a ladder truck, and four with the Highlandtown Volunteer Fire Department, also providing an engine, worked for a little less than two hours to put out the flames.

According to Wellsville Fire Chief Barry Podwel, flames were seen coming from the upstairs bathroom along with heavy smoke coming from all four sides of the home. Windows to the upstairs were broken out, and two vents were also made on the roof to help with air circulation.

Podwel said crews were able to contain the fire to the bathroom and attic above, which suffered the most damage, while heavy smoke and heat damage were reported to the rest of the upstairs level.

“When we got here, there was heavy flames shooting out the bathroom window,” Podwel said. “All four sides had heavy smoke coming out the eaves.”

Podwel also reported moderate smoke and heat damage to the first floor of the home, with most items on the bottom level still salvageable.

According to Podwel, the tenants were listed as Jeffrey and Caroline Farnsworth, while Nevada Algo Trading LLC of California was listed as the owners of the home, which was insured.

Podwel said no one was home at the time, but a hamster and a fish died. No other injuries were reported, and it was unclear how much dollars in damage the fire caused.

The cause has not been determined.

“I’m looking towards electrical, but I don’t know for sure,” Podwel said. “She said that they started having problems with the electric last Friday where it had started flickering on and off, and so they went to stay with her sister-in-law. They’ve been coming here everyday periodically checking out the house.”

Fire crews cleared the scene at 4:30 p.m.