By DUSTEN RADER
Fulton County Express

EPHRATAH — Five area residents escaped a burning two-story home on July 3.
According to Fulton County Civil Defense Coordinator Steve Santa Maria, at approximately 4:30 a.m. a fire was reported at 5776 Route 29 in Ephratah. There were five occupants in the home at the time, including: Eli Engle; Heather Engle; their two daughters Ashley and Emilie; and a guest, Tyler Brado.
All but Eli escaped without injury. Eli suffered smoke inhalation and minor burns after reentering the home in search of his family members, who had already exited safely. He was transported by the Fulton County Ambulance Service to Nathan Littauer Hospital for treatment and was later released.
“The fire originated in the living room on the first floor and the daughter who had a bedroom adjacent to the living room woke up to the smell of smoke and yelled for the rest of her family before exiting the building,” Santa Maria said. “The rest of the family exited, but one daughter had to exit through a window so in the confusion the father reentered looking for family members he had not seen outside.”
Santa Maria said he can certainly understand the father’s actions, but that if you’ve made it out of the building you should never reenter. He suggested area residents consider making a plan in the case of a fire, including two exits for every room and a meeting location outside, but nearby.
Eight departments responded to the incident, including The Rockwood Garoga Lassellsville Volunteer Fire Department Co. and the Ephratah Volunteer Fire Department.
Santa Maria said things could have been much worse had the fire teams not done such a great job at containing the fire since there was a 450 gallon propane tank behind the home.
Santa Maria said the home was a total loss and that Red Cross was contacted to assist the family.