A former Marine living in York recently built a chicken incubator on his front porch for his two young children.
“I was trying to raise eggs and show my children where they come from,” said David Bumgardner, 26.
Last weekend, he and his wife, Katherine, bought six baby chicks to show their two children –– 5-year-old Carly and Aden, 1.
However, a fire that destroyed their 1240 Woodland Heights Road home Wednesday evening killed at least three of the baby chicks.
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Fire investigators say the blaze might have been caused by Kiki, the family’s cat. The cat, which they adopted a few years ago from York County Animal Shelter, is believed to have gone after the baby chicks, eventually knocking over the incubator and catching the porch on fire.
York and Bethel fire departments, along with the York County Fire Marshal’s Office, arrived at 1240 Woodland Heights Road just after 5 p.m. and found the home on fire, said investigator Donnie Helms. Firefighters spent about 30 minutes putting out the blaze.
No one was home at the time of the fire.
“We know things could have been worse,” Bumgardner said. “We could have been in the house.”
After the fire, only three chick carcasses were found, Helms said. However, he added that they can’t rule out a malfunctioning incubator as the cause of the fire.
Kiki was found alive Thursday morning in Bumgardner’s son’s bedroom.
“Her whiskers are singed, and her foot’s hurt,” he said.
On Thursday, Bumgardner, family and friends were sorting through what’s left in their home, which suffered $65,000 in damage.
Bumgardner joined the Marines in 2004 and served a tour of duty in Iraq. He recovered a K-bar knife, a stinger gun and more items related to his service, including medals for good conduct, the Iraqi campaign, his overseas deployment and Korean Defense.
They were still looking through their children’s bedrooms to see what they could salvage. Currently, they are staying next door with Bumgardner’s parents.
“We’ll hang in there,” he said.
Video interview with David Bumgardner