Mar 05

PFD Looking Back – February 2012

PFD_February_2012_Looking_Back

Jan 03

PFD Looking Back – January 2012

The Pottsville Fire Department “Looking Back” series actually began as an examination of specific fires as the anniversary dates of those fires approached.  This started after much research for the Pottsville Firefighting book published by Mike Kitsock and I in 2004.  The series then evolved into a more organized format in which past fires were detailed in 5 year increments back through the first recorded fire in Pottsville in 1830.  Much credit for laying the groundwork has to be given to the late Joe Neary (Good Intent) and Bill Cerullo (American Hose).  Through the short-lived Pottsville Fire Department Historical Commission of the early 1990’s, they began to organize the History of Fire Alarms.  This was done largely through a company history book published in 1899 by the Good Intent Fire Company as well as the actual fire records of the City.

With that as a starting point, I then research individual fires through company records and, to a very large extent, through period newspapers via microfilm.  Dave Derbes and Dr. Pete Yasenchak of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County have been very helpful in identifying very old street names, city neighborhoods, and specific businesses.  In addition to the facts related to the various fires, I also try to include anecdotal information that has been passed-down through the years as well.

The purpose of the series, in addition to serving as an outlet for my passion for fire service history, is to promote an appreciation of the challenges that the firefighters who have gone before us have faced.  For today’s firefighters, the fires of the past can also serve as “teaching moments.”  It is often the case that we get fires today in the same blocks, in the same neighborhoods, and, sometimes, in the very same buildings in which fires have occurred in years past.  George Santayana has said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  By examining these fires, we can identify life safety concerns, water supply challenges, building construction features,  and specific access and apparatus placement issues.  What a great training tool – particularly in getting to know your “first due.”  Hopefully you enjoy the series and glean some information from the past that may prove valuable on the fireground in the future.

Thanks,
Mike Glore

January 2012 Looking Back Final

Jan 03

2012 Call Totals

Entire Department
Jan.
– 50, Feb. – 43, Mar. – 73, Apr. – 54, May – 75, Jun.– 56
Jul.
– 63, Aug. – 54, Sep. – 56, Oct. – 96, Nov. – 44, Dec. – 58- Total – 722

Individual Stations
Sta. 10
– 275, Sta. 20 – 194, Sta. 30 – 213, Sta. 40 – 180, Sta. 50 – 215, Sta. 60 – 274, Sta. 70 – 253 (Through December 31, 2012)

Jan 03

2011 Call Totals

Entire Department (Including Chief Only Requests)
Jan.
– 75, Feb. – 44, Mar. – 62, Apr. – 67, May – 61, Jun.– 53
Jul.
– 63, Aug. – 91, Sep. – 77, Oct. – 121, Nov. – 65, Dec. – 54- Total – 833

Individual Stations
Sta. 10
– 269, Sta. 20 – 168, Sta. 30 – 234, Sta. 40 – 183, Sta. 50 – 222, Sta. 60 – 263, Sta. 70 – 252

Dec 22

Working Vehicle Fire

12/21/11 – At 12:58hrs Stations 30 & 40 were dispatched to the Fairlane Village Mall on Route 61 for a reported vehicle fire. As units were en-route, county advised that the vehicle was located in the area of Boscov’s department store. First arriving E-41 advised of a working vehicle fire in the engine compartment and placed a 1-3/4″ hand line in service. Next arriving E-32 was then advised by incident command to put an additional line in service to help out with the attack. Crews remained on scene for approximately 35 minutes. Photos by P.F.D.

Dec 20

Mutual Aid – Working Structure Fire

12/19/2011 – at 17:07hrs Stations 20,30 & 60 were dispatched to assist Palo Alto and Port Carbon Fire Companies to 546 West Bacon Street for a Structure Fire. Chief 612 of Palo Alto was first on scene and advised of a working fire on the second floor. First arriving E-612 from Palo Alto immediately placed a 1-3/4” hand line in service and began their interior attack. When PFD units arrived on scene, Ladder 21 placed their ladder in service on side A of the building on the porch roof, personnel from L-21 and E-32  assisted with fire attack and overhaul and personnel from Rescue 63 handled the RIT team assignment. The fire was quickly knocked down and kept to a room of contents; however the rest of the residence sustained smoke and water damage. Pottsville units were in service for approximately 1 hour. Photos from Coal Region Fire

Dec 20

MVA

12/19/2011 – At 15:51hrs Stations 50 & 60 were dispatched to the area of 1965 West Market Street for a three vehicle MVA. When units arrived on scene firefighters applied floor dry to the leaking fluids and cleared debris from the roadway. Stations 50 & 60 were on scene for approximately 40 minutes until the towing company removed all the vehicles. Photos from Yorkville Hose Facebook

Dec 20

Mutual Aid – MVA with Entrapment

12/13/2011 – At 12:50hrs Station 60 was dispatched to assist Tremont, Ravine and Minersville Fire Rescue to 191 South Tremont Street in Reilly Twp. for a MVA with entrapment. As rescue 63 was en-route, they were advised by units already on scene, of one vehicle MVA in which the vehicle rolled over multiple times and then struck a tree and utility pole. Rescue 63 worked together with the other rescue companies already on scene to extricate the patient. Rescue 63 remained in service for approximately 1hr 10min. Photos from Yorkville Hose Facebook

Dec 20

Mutual Aid – MVA with Entrapment

12/11/2011 –  At 12:11hrs Station 60 was dispatched to assist Marlin & Llewelyn Fire Companies to the entrance of Kings Village Mall on Route 901 for a MVA with entrapment. When Rescue 63/Squad 61 arrived on scene, they found a two vehicle MVA with entrapment in one of the vehicles. Crews immediately placed the Hurst tools in service and removed the driver’s door on the car and then assisted EMS with patient removal. Station 60 remained on scene for approximately 55 minutes. Photos from Yorkville Hose Facebook

Nov 27

Mutual Aid – Working Commercial Structure Fire

11/26/2011 – At 23:14 hours units on standby in Schuylkill Haven were dispatched to 1478 Route 61 South – North Manheim Township, for a possible commercial structure fire at the China Buffet Restaurant (formerly the River Inn). For those familiar with the area this is a very large building that has been remodeled several times, the building sits right along Route 61 on the Southbound side just before the Cressona Mall. Pottsville P6 (Kevin Sibbett) was traveling down Route 61 on the way to the Cressona Knit fire when this call came in and he arrived on scene first establishing command on the A/D corner of the structure.  P6 reported heavy smoke showing from the eve’s of the entire building and ordered an immediate upgrade to a second alarm.  The initial alarm and second alarm brought the standby units from Schuylkill Haven as well as several units which were being released from Cressona, including but not limited to, Pine Grove HH&L, Hamburg L-61, Sch Haven E-733, Landingville, Minersville Fire L-519/R-518, Alert T-701, Port Carbon E59-11, Pottsville E-71, Orwigsburg E56-10, and RIT from Englewood E-369.  E-11 and R-63 were also released from the scene in Cressona to assist on this incident. P6 ordered that the building not be opened up until a water supply was established due to the large fire load and visible smoke condition on arrival, at the same time reports from units on scene identified the fire as being located in the basement. Water supply was established from hydrants north and south of the incident and an initial attack was launched into the basement from Sides C and D, as well as into Division 1 from sides B and C.  At the same time the aerial units went into operation to establish vertical ventillation, and a tanker task force was dispatched to establish a secondary water supply.  Crews in the basement reported heavy fire with attack underway, however conditions on Side A continued to deteriorate from Division 1 and the roof. Interior crews on Division 1 reported a partial floor collapse and the smoke condition on Side A changed to a dark black smoke pushing forcefully from the building prompting command to order an immediate evacuation of all interior crews and a switch to a defensive operation.  Fire eventually broke through the roof at the center of the building and the building suffered a major collapse at the center section.  Master stream operations were established on all (4) sides to knock down the large body of fire.  Interior operations were initiated later on side C and D into the basement and Divisions 1 and 2 to attempt to overhaul.  Crews were only able to access a few feet into the structure due to the collapse zone.  After all possible overhaul was performed the master stream operation was launched again for several hours to extinguish the remaining fire. P6 remained in command of the fire for the first several hours with assitance from P3 (operations), 56-02 (water supply), Chief 511 (Side C), and Haven Chiefs (manpower and other assistance).  Command was later transferred to Chief 53. Units on the scene included: Pottsville (E-11, L-21, E-32, E-41, L-51, R-63, E-71, E-72, Pottsville units were switched out midway through the incident), Schuylkill Haven (E-733 and Wagon 736), Minersville (L-519/R-518, Goodwill Engine), Landingville (Tanker), Pine Grove HH&L (Engine), Orwigsburg (56-10), Hamburg (Aerial), several Berks Tankers, Llewellyn (Tanker), Mt Carbon (Tanker), Port Carbon (59-11), Alert/Columbia (T-701), Newtown (Tanker), Walker Township (Tanker), New Ringgold (Tanker), Deer Lake (Tanker), Auburn (Tanker), West Penn Township (Tanker), Tamaqua (RIT), Englewood (RIT), Fire Police (Sch Haven, Pottsville, Mahanoy City), Schuylkill County Incident Support Vehicle, Red Cross. P3 Photos from J. Kriesher, R. Williams, Coal Region Fire & J. Morgalis. Top Video from NewsWorking, Bottom Video from FireandFilm.com.

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