MOUNT CARMEL, PA - On May 2, 2010 at 3:15 a.m. Mount Carmel Fire Department (Five Stations) and AREA EMS were dispatched to 350 West Fourth Street in Mount Carmel for a possible house fire.
The police arrived in minutes and found flames coming from the first floor of the row home. The fire chief arrived and confirmed it was a working fire and requested a second alarm.
In a matter of minutes the fire vented out the front windows and spread to the second floor. The fire continued to grow and spread to 352 and 344 West Fourth Street. Engine 3, Engine 1 and Ladder 2 arrived on scene and started defensive operations. Engine 1 staged on the A-D Side of the fire building and deployed large hose lines. A large explosion then took place in the corner home which sent intense flames into the street. The flames pushed back advancing fire fighters and damaged a parked car in front of the home. The pressure of the explosion pushed out the upper exterior walls in the corner home. The chimney separated from the home and fell in the street just missing Engine 1.
Rescue 5 and Engine 4 staged a block away from the homes and sent their crews to assist the first arriving engines. Engines 1, Engine 2 and Engine 3 established a water supply from nearby hydrants and attacked the spreading fire. The heavy flames were knocked down by the large hose lines and deck guns. Ladder 2 staged in front of the building and sent its crew to the roof to do ventilation. The first interior attack crew found the fire spreading to third floor and the cock loft. The interior crews continued to open up the ceiling on the third floor but the fire spread through the cock loft. Smoke could be seen venting from the exposure homes roof. It was determined the fire was jumping homes when the second alarm arrived on the scene. The two homes became structural un-safe and the crews were removed. Master streams were placed into service again while the homes become fully involved.
Mount Carmel Township Atlas Engine 21, Shamokin Fire Department Tower-Ladder 34 and Engine 21 responded to the scene and assisted with operations. Shamokin Rescue Squad 62 responded to the scene and took over RIT Operations.
Incident Command then had the third alarm sent to the scene to help stop the spreading fire. Coal Township Maine Engine 111, Kulpmont Engine 221 (RIT Operations), Ashland Fire Department Ladder 38-25 and Marion Heights Engine 71 responded to the scene. The third alarm units staged a block and sent their man power to the scene. The additional crews assisted the truck company in trenching the roof and cutting off the spreading fire.
The third alarm engine crews backed up the initial crews to extinguish the fire in all three homes. The fire and smoke condition in the three homes improved and the fire was out in three hours. The incident was under controlled by 07:00 hours, then all second and third alarm units went available. The fire chief believes the fire started in the first floor of 350 West Fourth Street. The fire chief reported that there were no injuries to fire fighters or civilians. The three homes were destroyed and a fourth one received major damaged. The American Red Cross is now assisting the displaced the residents.