NEWELL-The longtime rural home of a Hancock County sheriff's deputy was destroyed by fire Monday afternoon.
Neither Deputy Douglas Wade nor his 6-year-old daughter nor his girlfriend were injured in the fire, but two cats and a rabbit perished, Wade said. A family dog was taken to a veterinarian clinic and appeared to be OK, he said.
The house, a mobile home at 947 Snow Hill Road just south of Newell, was considered a total loss. The house sits on land that Wade uses as a farm for horses, pigs and cattle, none of which were injured.
Hancock County 911 Dispatch received the fire call 1:30 p.m. Monday, and the Newell Volunteer Fire Department responded. Mutual aid came from the Chester, New Cumberland, New Manchester and Lawrenceville fire departments.
Wade said he believes the fire was started by a hot coal from the woodburning stove, which he uses to heat the home in the winter. He and his daughter had just finished removing the ashes from the stove and had moved on to other things, he said.
"We checked it, and it seemed all right. We must have missed something," Wade said.
Wade took his daughter to his parents' - they operate Wade's Salvage across the street - and he returned to splitting wood, he said. Then he heard his girlfriend, who was cleaning the horse barn, yell about smoke coming from the house.
"I was able to run over and get the dog out," he said.
Wade said he had plans to raze the structure to make room for a new home - but not this way.
An eight-year veteran of the sheriff's department, Wade made plans for his immediate future as he watched smoke pour from the house Monday afternoon. He said the house was not insured.
"I've got a lot of people helping me out," he said. "I'm just glad I have a job."