May 12

Working Structure Fire with Entrapment

Just before midnight on Sunday May 12th the Pottsville Fire Department was dispatched for a possible structure fire with entrapment at 231 Pierce Street (incident address was actually 235 Pierce but the caller could not see an address so they used the neighbors address). Pottsville Police arrived on scene first and relayed to the dispatch center that the home was well involved and there were reports of multiple people unaccounted for. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Messner (P5) was the duty officer for the weekend and was the first fire officer to arrive on scene. P5 confirmed a working structure fire, and requested Schuylkill Haven RIT be dispatched. The structure was a 3 story single family dwelling, with an exposure close on side D. Heavy fire was visible from division 2 on Side C, with heavy black smoke pushing from division 3 on side D and from divisions 2 and 3 on Side A.

Engine 11 (Good Intent) was the first apparatus on scene and they setup fire attack on side A of the structure. Ladder 51 (West End) approached from the West coming down Pierce Street and setting up on the A/D corner, Ladder 21 (Phoenix) was positioned behind E-11. Engine 71 (American Hose) took the hydrant at 2nd and Pierce and fed Engine 41 (Good Will) who was positioned behind L-21, E-41 fed E-11. Engine 32 (Humane) took the hydrant at 4th and Pierce and fed L-51 and E-11 as well. Engine 62 (Yorkville) worked their way into the very tight alley behind the structure to setup operations on side C. P5 was the IC, P2 (Witmier) was the Operations Chief, P3 (Stefnic) was interior command, and P6 (Misstishin) was Safety Officer of the incident.

A 2” attack line was stretched from E-11 to Side C of the structure for an initial attack on division 2, as well as a 1-3/4” attack line to division 1 on side A. E-41 stretched a 1-3/4” attack line for exposure protection while L-51 crew made entry into exposure D to check for extension. A crew from L-21 and E-62 attempted entry to division 3 from Side C of the structure. Crews on division 2 and 3 were met with a very large volume of fire immediately and were unable to make entry deep into the structure. The crew on division 2 reported issues with the floor as holes were forming rapidly and P2 ordered an evacuation of the structure and that a defensive operation be setup.

P5 called for a second alarm to staff the city and for some units to assist with secondary water sources. Port Carbon (E59-11) took the hydrant at 4th and Mahantongo and fed the long 5” line that was laid up to the scene by Schuylkill Haven (E-732). Units from Palo Alto setup a feed from the East by taking the hydrant at Union and Centre and laying up to E-71.

Once the secondary water source was established, the main body of fire was quickly knocked down, and interior operations resumed as the fire was brought under control. Despite the best efforts of the Police Department and Fire Department, six lives were lost as the residents in the home at the time of the fire were unable to evacuate, one resident survived who was not home at the time of the incident. The fire destroyed the 3-story home, but only caused minor damage to the exposure on side D.

It is with a heavy heart that this incident is posted on our website, this incident was the largest loss of life cause by fire in the history of the Pottsville Fire Department, and one of the largest in the history of Schuylkill County. The fire is still under investigation at this time. Narritive by P2 (Witmier) & Pictures and Videos courtesy of Fire & Film

May 05

Apartment Fire

At 2038hrs the PFD was dispatched to 714 West Mahantongo Street for a reported apartment building fire with possible entrapment. First arriving personnel assisted with the removal of the patients from the apartment and reported heavy smoke in the apartment. Crews found a stove fire from oil left on the stove and put the remainder of the fire out and checked for extension. Both patients were transferred from the scene to medical helicopters. Crews remained on scene for approximately 45min until all the smoke was cleared from the building. Photos courtesy of Yorkville Hose Facebook.

May 01

PFD Looking Back – May 2013

A look back at incidents from the PFD during the month of April. Submitted by Mike Glore.

May 2013 Looking Back

Apr 04

MVA – Mutual Aid

At 1349hrs Station 60 was dispatched to assist Forestville and South Cass Fire to Route 901 in Primrose for a MVA with possible entrapment. First arriving units found a single vehicle MVA with one car into a stone wall. EMS was able to remove the patient without any rescue tools. R-63 assisted with hazard control until the scene was cleared up. Station 60 remained on scene for approximately 1hr.

Apr 04

Possible Structure Fire

At 0230hrs the PFD was dispatched to 231 Pierce Street for a reported structure fire. As units were en-route, county advised of a reported dryer fire. First arriving personnel found a working dryer fire in the basement of the residence and immediately tried knocking it down with two (2) ABC extinguishers. They were able to hold it back until additional apparatus arrived on scene and extinguished the fire with pressurized water cans. Crews setup fans to remove the smoke from the structure and checked for any lingering carbon monoxide. PFD personnel remained on scene for approximately 1hr. Photos courtesy of Yorkville Hose Facebook.

Apr 01

PFD Looking Back – April 2013

A look back at incidents from the PFD during the month of April. Submitted by Mike Glore.

April 2013 Looking Back

Mar 26

Working Structure Fire

3/27/13 – At 13:08hrs the PFD was dispatched to 11 North 22nd street for a reported structure fire. When P-1 arrived on scene he advised of light smoke showing from Division 2 and had the SHFD RIT team dispatched. First arriving E-11 and E-62 immediately placed a line in service and quickly knocked down the fire. P-1 then cancelled the RIT team as all that was left is some overhaul to check for extension. PFD units remained on scene for approximately 1hr. Photos by PFD and the Republican Herald.

Mar 14


03/14/13 – at 20:06hrs Station 50 & 60 were dispatched to the area of Station 50 for a MVA with unknown injuries. When personnel arrived at the fire house, they had a single vehicle MVA into a pole, directly in front of their apparatus bay. PFD units were on scene for approximately 1-1/2hrs until barricades were setup to block off traffic until utility crews arrived to replace the pole. Photos from Yorkville Hose.

Mar 13

Mutual Aid – Motorcycle Accident

03/13/13 – At 17:20hrs Station 60 was dispatched along with Marlin and Seltzer Fire Companies to the area of Seltzer Road and New Street for an MVA involving a motorcycle. First arriving units found a single vehicle motorcycle accident with the patient at the bottom of a 75’ embankment into a small creek. When R-63 arrived on scene, they immediately began setting up a haul system to bring the patient up the embankment. Once the patient was brought up, Pottsville Area EMS transported them to the landing zone so they could be transported by helicopter to the hospital. Rescue 63 was on scene for approximately 1hr. Photos from Yorkville Hose.

Mar 09

The Art of Reading Smoke Training

Members of the PFD and surrounding departments, attended a one-day seminar called “The Art of Reading Smoke,” at Pottsville Area’s D.H.H. Lengel Middle School. The class was hosted by five local firefighting organizations and the presenter was David W. Dodson, owner and lead instructor of Response Solutions LLC in Eastlake, Colo. Over 243 firefighters attended the 8hr seminar on how to read smoke so firefighters and officers can predict where the fire is located and how the fire is going to behave as time progresses.

The seminar was sponsored by the Pottsville Fire Department, Mahanoy City Fire Department, Schuylkill Haven Fire Department, Schuylkill County LEPC and Schuylkill County Emergency Services Training Center.

Entire article can be viewed at The Republican Herald’s Website.

Photos from The Republican Herald.

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