The short-handed Greenville Fire Department responded to a house fire Monday night where one firefighter fell through the stairs but escaped injury.

Firefighters were called at 10:50 p.m. to a home at 121 S. Second St. owned by the Tawny Smith family for a fire in the basement, fire Chief Steve Thompson said.

The family wasn’t home because they were fumigating the inside with insecticide foggers, which were set up in the basement and are flammable.

A state fire marshal ruled the blaze accidental because the foggers caught fire from something in the basement that should have been turned off, like the furnace or hot water heater, Thompson said.

Lt. Dale Hightree fell to his waist through the basement stairs with the fire burning underneath. Thompson said he was able to pull Hightree to safety after hearing his calls for help.

Greenville’s ladder truck couldn’t respond because no driver was available, Thompson said.

The department has been dealing with a shortage after Monday’s death of firefighter Daniel J. Miller, who was seriously hurt in a June 10 motorcycle crash in Kentucky, and Rob Ensminger’s recent ankle injury.

The fire department is working with borough officials on creating a plan to solve the manpower crisis.

Firefighters from Mercer assisted. West Salem Township Volunteer Fire Department sent extra firefighters and Hempfield Township was on standby.

The family has insurance and about $50,000 in damage was done to the basement, kitchen and second floor. They’re being assisted by the American Red Cross, Thompson said.

Firefighters were on the scene for three hours.

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