The call went out to the volunteer firefighters of Gettysburg Fire Department and others at 11:53 a.m. and units were responding in less than six minutes. When firefighters arrived, they found the single-family home engulfed in flames.
One of the occupants was able to get out of the home by themselves, escaping with serious injuries. They were flown by helicopter to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. A Cumberland Township Police officer and an emergency medical technician with Adams Regional EMS attempted to enter the structure to rescue the other occupant but were driven back by the fire. Firefighters were able to reach the occupant and bring them out of the home, but the victim had already succumbed.
Firefighters had to halt their interior attack due to the intensity of the blaze as more than three-quarters of the roof was on fire and ready to cave in. They evacuated the structure and began working with defensive tactics, continuing to fight the fire from the outside.
More than 30 pieces of fire apparatus, all staffed by volunteers, responded from several fire companies in the area including Gettysburg, Fairfield, Littlestown, Biglerville, Cashtown, Arendtsville, Greenmount, United, Barlow, Frederick County and Carroll County. Also on scene were StatMedEvac, Adams Regional EMS, Cumberland Township Police, and Pennsylvania State Police.
The fire was under control within 30 minutes. Firefighters and fire police were on scene for more than four hours, with last units clearing the scene at 4:25 p.m. Two first responders were injured: a Cumberland Township Police officer was transported to Gettysburg Hospital for evaluation and a firefighter was treated for minor injuries on the scene.
It has not been determined whether the property had working smoke alarms at the time of the fire due to the extensive damage throughout. The home is expected to be a total loss. Pennsylvania State Police are investigating the cause and origin of the fire.