Bitter cold, an iced-over driveway and a vicious dog contributed to a challenging evening for York firefighters who responded to a house fire Tuesday.

When firefighters arrived at 35 Route 1 just after 5 p.m., they found two people who had been bitten by a pit bull, York Village Fire Chief Chris Balentine said.

The dog bit its owner, the woman who lives on the second floor of the home, on her hand, Balentine said. The dog also bit a neighbor in his torso, and he was taken by ambulance to York Hospital.

“I don’t know if it was the fire or the excitement caused by all the commotion, but the dog bit both people,” Balentine said.

The dog had to be removed from the property by the town’s animal control officer. Balentine does not know what became of the dog.

It took more than 40 firefighters about 90 minutes to bring the blaze under control. A gravel driveway connecting the home to Route 1 was frozen over and proved treacherous for firefighters laying down hose lines from a nearby hydrant. Temperatures hovered around 15 degrees during the fire and caused hose nozzles and couplings to freeze.

The fire destroyed a garage and the woman’s second-floor apartment, causing damage estimated at close to $100,000, Balentine said.

The woman escaped through a sliding door that leads to a second-floor deck. Balentine said the fire appears to have been caused by a malfunctioning woodstove.

Police shut down Route 1 near the Kittery town line for about two hours.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]