WHITE DEER TOWNSHIP — A fire that started in a shed spread to a garage and then a house in Union County.
Fueled by propane and other gasses, the fireball lit up the night sky near Watsontown as it consumed a shed, garage, and part of a home.
By daybreak the devastation on Sunrise Road was apparent.
Donald and Cathy Diefenbach’s house looked like it had been hit by a bomb.
The couple was out to supper when the fire started Friday night, but Donald’s brother Caroll was nearby. He saw the smoke and was able to save their dog.
“We tried to do as much as we could to save the house, but once the garage was fully engulfed and the propane tank, the top blew off. There was nothing we could do,” said Caroll Diefenbach.
The couple knows all too well what it takes to recover from a fire. The house burned down in 1992 and the couple rebuilt.
“How did you make it through in ’92?” he was asked.
“Not easy,” Donald Diefenbach said.
A container of photos survived the fire. Some have scorched edges from that other fire the family hoped to forget.
“It just seems like if it weren’t for bad luck we wouldn’t have any. It has been rough,” said Cathy Diefenbach.
But while the Diefenbachs may be jinxed when it comes to fires, they are blessed when it comes to family. Donald’s brother Caroll has a construction business.
“My construction company guys, we will rebuild and get him back in here asap,” Caroll said.
When asked why he would build for a third time in this spot that has brought him such hardship, Donald said he loves the areas landscape and wildlife.
“The country. I like living in the country,” Donald said.
A state police fire marshal said the damage is so extensive he can not determine what sparked the fire. He said he is investigating several fires in the area to determine whether or not they may be cases of arson.