The Manchester, Lineboro and Pleasant Hill, Pa., volunteer fire companies took several hours to bring a residential fire in the 800 block of Mich-Trace Drive under control yesterday.
The house, owned by Robert E. Blank Sr., is west of Lineboro and northwest of Manchester. The fire started shortly after 1 p.m.
"It came in as a chimney fire," said Manchester fire Chief Steve Miller. "When we arrived, it had escaped into the walls."
Volunteers and seven pieces of equipment responded, said Debbie Burk, shift supervisor at the Emergency Operations Center. The first call came at 1:09 p.m.
"If the family hadn't called when they did, the fire would have destroyed the house," said Lonnie Blank, 19, a relative and neighbor of the family. "Smoke was coming out between the walls."
Mr. Miller said the chimney "looked good." He said he suspected the fire spread to the walls through faulty mortar.
"The chimney clogged and wouldn't draft," he said. "It became so hot, the mortar melted."
Mr. Miller said the fire spread to the first- and second-floor walls and the attic. Crews removed several walls and remained on the scene until about 5 p.m.
"The walls of the chimney burned out, and you can see right to the outside," said Mr. Blank. "There is water all over the basement."
Firefighters spent several hours inspecting the old two-story log house to make sure no fire remained.
"These old log homes are filled with nooks and crannies, and we had to check for sparks," Mr. Miller said.
After surveying the damage, a Carroll County building inspector allowed the three family members to stay at the house last night, Mr. Miller said.