SHENANDOAH (SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, PA): On February 20, 2012 at 18:30 hours the Shenandoah Fire Department (Five Stations), Mahanoy City West End Rescue 993 and Shenandoah Ambulance were dispatched to 318 West Center Street in Shenandoah for a house fire. The Shenandoah police and EMS arrived in minutes and found smoke and flames showing from the Charlie Side of the home. The fire spread quickly and began to move to the roof within the exterior wall of the home. The fire threatening to jumped to the next door vacant commercial property.
Neighbors then advised the police officer of an eldery woman who may be still trapped in the home. The officer quickly advised the dispatcher of the working fire and there was now entrapment. The Shenandoah Fire Department was then re-dispatched for a working fire with entrapment. The police was then able to enter the bottom apartment to remove the elderly neighbor. He was later burnt on his face from the intense flames that was burning close by.
Rescue Hook and Ladder Squirt 745 and Phoenix Engine 747 arrived on the scene first. Engine 747 connected to a hydrant on West Center Street. Squirt 745 laid into the fire scene on West Center Street and was supplied by Engine 747. Squirt 745 staged in the front of the home and placed its ladder into service to the roof. Ladder 745 arrived on scene and staged next to Squirt 745. Ladder 745 then sent its ladder to the roof of the burning home on the Delta Side. Columbia Engine 742 and Polish American Tanker-Pumper 759 staged in the rear alley or on the side street. They sent their two crews to the fire scene to assist with the initial attack on the fire.
The burning home sat off to the rear of 318 West Center Street. The first arriving fire marshals and the Department Chief found the rear second floor porch well involved with fire. Firefighters deployed and advanced two hose lines from Squirt 745 to the rear of the involved home to attack the fire. Fire fighters had to make a defensive attack from the back yard with the two hose lines prior to ascending the porch steps.
Defender Engine 751 and West End Rescue 993 were the last to arrive and staged a few blocks away from the fire scene. Rescue 993 sent its crew to Side Alpha to stand by as the RIT Team. The additional Shenandoah fire fighters who arrived on scene entered the exposure homes to search for possible spreading fire.
The attack crews gained entry into the two rear apartments and stretched hose lines in side. Fire fighters found the second floor apartment full of heavy smoke and heat. The fire spread through the exterior wall to the second floor apartment’s kitchen closet. The smoke and heat conditions in the apartment decreased when the homes roof was cut by the crew from the Hookies. A crew from the Columbia forced their way in the next door residence to check on extensions.
The incident commander ordered additional crews into the fire building to check on extensions in the ceiling. The smoke and CO conditions in the kitchen area became safe and allowed fire fighters to enter into the overhaul mode. The walls and attic ceilings were opened up by the fire fighters to look for hotspots. The crews had the fire under controlled in less than hour. The majority fire fighters were then released from the scene before 20:00 hours. Defender Engine 751 remained on the scene to do fire watch through out the night.
The resident of the apartment where the fire was is to believe to start was injured. She was found by the first police on scene to be unruly and uncooperative. She was taken into custody by the Shenandoah Police Department. She was later transferred in to the care of the Shenandoah Ambulance. She was later flown by helicopter to a burn center in Allentown due to her injuries she received from the fire.
The State Police Fire Investigator, police chief and fire marshals returned back to the scene the next day to investigate the cause of the fire. The fire chief reported that there were no injuries to fire fighters or residents. The first alarm fire heavily damage one apartment and severely damaged four other properties. Shenandoah and Lost Creek EMS crews provided rehab services to the fire fighters. The Red Cross Emergency Response Team will be assisting the displaced residents from the fire.