HARVEYS LAKE — A fire destroyed the home of a retired veteran on Saturday afternoon.
Smoke, billowing from the eaves of the structure, could be seen from around the lake as Kunkle firefighters and EMS — as well as Idetown, Lehman Township and Harveys Lake fire and rescue crews — fought a blaze at the home of Al Barcheski at 99 Second St.
The smoke was so heavy at times, the Sweet Valley Fire Department’s cascade unit — a department vehicle equipped with spare air canisters and an air compressor capable of refilling canisters — was called in to assist.
Harveys Lake fire chief David Davis said the call came in at 12:16 p.m. and the flames were extinguished quickly, but firefighters battled smoke and hot spots throughout the afternoon.
A group of neighbors who were watching the events unfold, including Zeb MacMillian, of Second Street, identified the owner as Barcheski. Davis said most in the community knew of Barcheski and they were “trying to locate the homeowner.”
“He has a routine, he usually leaves around 11 a.m.,” MacMillian said. “He doesn’t have a cell phone.”
MacMillian said Barcheski was up in age, and he had no pets.
“As far as I know,” Davis said, “there were no injuries to any firefighters.”
MacMillian said Barcheski also owns the property and house adjacent to 99 Second St. Firefighters kept the flames from jumping to the other house, and the majority of the damage was done to the left side of the home.
“Most of the damage was done under the flat part of the roof,” Davis said, noting the A-part of the frame on the right side was untouched.
Clutter and other household items were seen on the lawn in the front of the house.
“We pulled out a lot of debris,” Davis said.
The whole inside of the home was a total loss, and it was was unclear where Barcheski will be staying, he said.
A state fire marshal will be called in for an investigation if Davis was unable to determine a cause.
“I have no clue right now,” Davis said.
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko