MAHANOY CITY (SCHUYLKILL COUNTY), PA: On January 24, 2012 at 17:15 hours the Mahanoy City Fire Department (Five Stations), Mahanoy City Ambulance, Goodwill-Frackville Ladder 43-20 and Altamont Engine 367 (RIT Team) were dispatched to 411 West Market Street in Mahanoy City for a possible house fire. The 911 dispatch center received a phone call of a fire on the second of the home that was called by the residents.
The police arrived in a minutes and found smoke coming from the front second floor windows of the home. The fire continued to spread quickly and began to move through out the second floor of the home. The residents were able to evacuate the home before the fire department’s arrival.
West End Engine 465 arrived on scene first and found heavy smoke venting from the front windows. Engine 465 established a water supply from the hydrant at 6th and Center Streets. The engine stage in front of the home and deployed a number of hose lines to make an offensive attack to stop the fire. Humane Engine 451 established a second water supply at the hydrant at 6th and Center Streets. The engine then dropped a supply line in the alley and proceeded to the front of the fire building. Engine 451 fire fighters advanced a back up hose lines into the fire building and exposure building next door.
Citizens Engine 454 staged at 6th and Center Streets at the hydrant and sent its crew to assist the Tower 456. The additional engine crews backed up the attack crew and entered the exposure residence to check for a spreading fire. Washington Ladder 457 staged behind Engine 451 and sent its aerial ladder to the roof of the exposure home. Fire fighters from the Citizens went to the fire building roof and ventilated it. Tower 456 staged behind Ladder 457 and sent its crew to the roof of the fire building to help with ventilation operations. Good American Tanker 462 and Rescue 993 staged a few blocks away and sent their crews to the fire building.
The fire was quickly knocked down in less than 15 minutes of fire fighters arriving on scene. Exterior fire fighters worked on throwing ground ladders and venting the second floor windows. A positive pressure fan was used to assist in clearing out the smoke in the exposure building.
Neighbors then informed the fire fighters that a young boy may be unaccounted and may be still in the home. Incident Command requested additional manpower to enter the home to search for the boy and to check for any fire extensions.
The Altamont Fire Company Engine 367 responded to the scene and staged a few blocks away. The Altamont RIT Team then reported to the ALPHA Side of the fire building with their RIT equipment. The Frackville-Goodwill Fire Company Ladder 43-20 arrived on the scene and staged on Center Street. Incident Command ordered the Frackville fire fighters to enter the fire building to search for the missing boy and overhaul the fire room.
Search crews search the entire fire scene but were unable to find the boy in the two homes. It was then learned the boy was found safe at another home blocks away from the fire scene. The smoke conditions in all of the homes improved and Command declared the fire under controlled before 18:00 hours. The Humane Engine and crew remained on the scene for an hour or two to assist with the investigation and to prevent any rekindles.
The Mahanoy City Fire Chief believes the fire started on second floor of the home in the middle room. The cause is still under investigation and is being look into by the State Police Fire Marshal. The fire chief reported that there were no injuries to fire fighters or the home’s residents. EMS units from Mahanoy City and the American Red Cross Incident Support Vehicle responded to the scene to assist the fire fighters. The home at 411 West Market Street received major fire and water damage to the second floor. The exposure home next door received moderate smoke and water damaged. Mahanoy City Fire Chief credited the quick response of the fire fighters for keeping the fire contained to the second floor and initial fire building.