SHENANDOAH (SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, PA): On March 11th 2012 at 09:00 hours the Shenandoah Fire Department (Five Stations), Mahanoy City West End Rescue 993 and Shenandoah Ambulance were dispatched to 312 West Columbus Street in Shenandoah for a house fire. The Shenandoah police arrived in minutes and found smoke showing from the front side of the home. The fire spread quickly and began to move through out the second floor of the home. The fire threatening to jumped to the next door home.
Neighbors were able to rescue the owner of the home who was seriously burned. He had his hands and feet burnt while he attempting to extinguish the fire. The police officer quickly advised the dispatcher of the working fire and there was an injury. The Shenandoah Fire Department was then re-dispatched for a working fire.
Rescue Hook and Ladder Squirt 745 and Phoenix Engine 747 staged in front of the home. Columbia Engine 742 connected to a hydrant at south Gilbert and West Cherry Street. Engine 742 then laid into the fire scene and supplied Engine 747 with hydrant water. Defender Engine 751 hooked the hydrant at west Cherry and south Chestnut Streets. Engine 751 laid into the fire scene and supplied Squirt 745 with water. Squirt 745 set up in the front of the home and sent its ladder to the roof. Ladder 745 arrived on scene and staged in a vacant lot just east of the fire building. Ladder 745 then sent its ladder to the roof of an exposure home on the Bravo Side. A hose line from Engine 751 was then sent up the tiller to the roof of an exposure home. Polish American Tanker 759 staged in the rear of the home on the west Poplar and south Gilbert Street. They sent two hose lines to the rear of the home to conduct an exterior attack on the fire.
In a mater of minutes large flames vented from the second floor windows and overtook the Squirt’s main ladder. Fire fighters had to make a defensive attack from the street with a hose line. They were able to darken down the fire and to save Squirt’s ladder from the flames. Firefighters then deployed and advanced two hose lines from Squirt 745 into the front door of the home to attack the fire.
West End Rescue 993 arrived and staged a block away from the fire scene on south Gilbert Street. 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 home to search for a possible spreading fire.
The attack crews gained entry into the home to find fire through out the first floor. The fires were quickly knocked down and extinguished. The attack crew then stretched the hose line to the second floor and attacked the fire. Fire fighters found the second floor of the home to be full of heavy smoke and heat. The fire spread through the interior wall to the attic. The smoke and heat conditions in the home decreased when the roof was cut by the ladder crew from the truck company.
The incident commander ordered additional crews into the next door home to check on extensions in the upper floors. A crew from the Columbia forced their way in the next door residence to check on extensions. The smoke in the exposure home was vented to allow fire fighters to search for extensions.
Fire fighters then entered the attic of the fire building with an additional hose line to find the fire still burning. The fires were then quickly extinguished to allow the fire fighters to switch to the overhaul mode. The attic walls and floor were opened up by the fire fighters to extinguish hotspots. The crews had the fire under controlled in an hour. The majority fire fighters were then released from the scene before 11:15 hours. The fire chief and marshals remained on the scene to conduct the fire investigation.
The injured male resident of the home was burnt on his face, hands and feet. He was later flown by helicopter to a burn center in Allentown. Shenandoah Heights Fire Company was dispatched and stood by at the Shenandoah helipad.
The fire chief reported that there were no injuries to fire fighters. Squirt 745 ladder suffered heat damaged from the fire that unexpectedly vented from one of the second floor windows. The first alarm fire heavily damage one home and severely damaged two other properties. Shenandoah, Frackville and Lost Creek EMS crews provided rehab services to the fire fighters. The Red Cross Emergency Response Team responded to the scene to assist the eight displaced residents of the involved homes.