“We did save a family from losing their home for sure,” said 1st Assistant Chief Jeff Bates, Hawley Fire Department.

“We did save a family from losing their home for sure,” said 1st Assistant Chief Jeff Bates, Hawley Fire Department.

Hawley Fire Department was toned out to a garage fire at the home of Ray and Susan McCollum, 424 Academy Street in Hawley, early Monday afternoon. Assistant Chief Bates says smoke was “puffing out of the eaves” when he arrived on scene. “Then it finally got air and took off,” he said. The garage, which sits less than a foot away from the home, was a total loss, he said.

A neighbor, Mike McAllister who lives across the street, said, “I didn’t see anything, unfortunately, until it was too late. When I pulled the curtains back, I saw the flames,” he said. He said his son had come home from work and said, ‘The neighbor’s house is on fire.”
Saying “Susan and Raymond are nice neighbors,” Mr. McAllister said, “Thank God the house didn’t catch.”

Mr. McCollum said it was a “woodstove fire.” He says he was just cleaning up the garage and putting holiday decorations away when he decided to break for lunch. “I came in to eat lunch and the woodstove got carried away,” he said.

Mr. McCollum said he called the fire department. He was worried about his house and grabbed a hose and started spraying it down.

Looking towards a snowblower at the end of his driveway, Mr. McAllister said the McCollums were able to save their snowblower from the garage. Two vehicles parked in front of the garage were also moved out of harms way. 

Members of Hawley Fire Department, Forest Volunteer Fire Department, and White Mills responded. Lakeville was also toned out on a second alarm, but was canceled, Bates said, when the blaze was brought quickly under control. He said they had the fire under control in about 10 minutes. Also assisting at the scene were Hawley Ambulance and Honesdale EMS. Bates said Mr. McCollum was checked for smoke inhalation.
Bates said he was proud of all the departments that responded and the excellent teamwork. “The fire department was great,” Mr. McCollum said. 

Mr. McCollum said he can’t even begin to say how much he lost, stored in the garage. A former mechanic for General Motors (GM), he said he used to work on streets rods and had quite a few tools stored in the garage. He also said some of his son’s carpentry tools were stored there as well.