Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
June 18, 2013 Issue
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Dan Hust | Democrat

Hankins-Fremont Center and North Branch firefighters spray down Dick and Mary Ann Ehrmann’s Obernburg home after it was consumed by fire on Tuesday.

Fire consumes Obernburg home

By Dan Hust
OBERNBURG — A Valentine’s Day blaze destroyed Dick and Mary Ann Ehrmann’s longtime home in Obernburg.
“I’m lucky I got out, to tell you the truth,” Dick Ehrmann said, his eyes moist from watching the house he built 25 years ago disintegrate in front of him.
Ehrmann’s wife was at work, but he and his dog were napping inside the two-story house along William Herbert Road.
The smoke alarm roused him, very likely saving his life, as the fire – which started in the basement – was already out of control.
“I just barely got out with my dog,” Ehrmann said.
He ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911, but he knew that even if the emergency response was instantaneous, his home was too far gone.
Nevertheless, Hankins-Fremont Center firefighters, assisted by North Branch and Callicoon Center, battled the blaze for around two hours, dousing hotspots and ensuring the fire didn’t spread to nearby garages.
Upper Delaware Ambulance Corps also responded.
A Sullivan County fire investigator arrived while the house was still billowing enormous clouds of white smoke.
As of yesterday, the fire remains under investigation. It has already been ruled accidental, but the ignition source isn’t yet clear, as neither of the house’s woodstoves were lit at the time.
Ehrmann said he is insured, and he appreciated the efforts of firefighters, many of whom are his neighbors and friends.
“They did the best job they could,” he affirmed.

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