On The Job: PENNSYLVANIA

On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, a three-alarm fire destroyed the Comfort Inn hotel in East Franklin Township, PA. The three-story hotel was built in 1995 with a steel and block superstructure and a wood and shingle roof. The building was 100 feet by 250 feet...


On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, a three-alarm fire destroyed the Comfort Inn hotel in East Franklin Township, PA. The three-story hotel was built in 1995 with a steel and block superstructure and a wood and shingle roof. The building was 100 feet by 250 feet. Smoke detectors were on all three floors and...


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On Saturday, Dec. 13, 2008, a three-alarm fire destroyed the Comfort Inn hotel in East Franklin Township, PA. The three-story hotel was built in 1995 with a steel and block superstructure and a wood and shingle roof. The building was 100 feet by 250 feet. Smoke detectors were on all three floors and each of the guest rooms. Standpipes in both stairwells were fed by 2½-inch risers from the municipal water system. Fire department connections were on each floor, but there were no hose racks. There was no fire detection or suppression system in the attic. The hotel contained 70 guest rooms. At the time of the fire, 24 guests were staying at the hotel.

At 2:25 P.M., a first-alarm assignment was dispatched by Armstrong County 911 for a structure fire at the hotel, at 13 Hilltop Plaza. Responding on the alarm were East Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department Engine 62, a 1,500-gpm pumper, and Heavy Rescue 65; Applewold Volunteer Fire Department Engine 10, a 1,000-gpm pumper; West Kittanning Volunteer Fire Department Engine 244, a 2,000-gpm pumper, and Rescue 243; Kittanning Hose Company Number One Engine 110, a 1,500-gpm pumper, and Ladder 110, a 100-foot aerial ladder; and Worthington & West Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department Engine 251, a 1,500-gpm pumper. East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney arrived on scene at 2:27 and observed heavy smoke coming from the eaves of the building.

Upon arrival, there was reported entrapment in Room 320 on the third floor. The individuals initially exited the building when the fire alarm sounded, but when they saw the smoke, they returned to their room to get their belongings. Other guests and employees left the building when the alarms sounded. First-in search crews did not get key cards to open doors and the hotel guest register was left in the building by the staff. With a little delay, the search crew retrieved the key cards and guest register from the building. Feeney requested that all 70 rooms be cleared by crews and to double-check all rooms on the third floor.

Initial Operations

Engine 62 arrived on scene at 2:37 P.M. and was positioned in front of the building (A side). Firefighters advanced two 200-foot, two-inch attack lines into the building through a third-floor window using a 35-foot extension ladder and the stairwell. Engine 244 laid a 350-foot, five-inch line to the front of the building and supplied Engine 62 with a 75-foot, five-inch line. Firefighters also placed a 200-foot, two-inch attack line and a 200-foot, 2½-inch attack line into operation from the pool roof from Engine 244. These lines were eventually advanced to the third floor. Engine 110 was positioned on side D to support Ladder 110.

Manpower from this engine was assigned to third-floor search crews. According to the pre-plan, Ladder 110 was positioned on side D, where a lumber yard was located 80 feet from the fire building. This ladder was set up to prevent fire extension to the lumber yard and for possible aerial master stream operations on the hotel. Engine 10 laid a 500-foot, five-inch line to side D and supplied Ladder 110 with a 100-foot, five-inch line. Rescues 65 and 243 were positioned on side D and set up for support, lighting and a rapid intervention team.

Feeney requested a second alarm at 2:29 P.M. Responding were Kittanning Township Engine 310, a 1,250-gpm pumper, and Heavy Rescue 310; Manor Township Volunteer Fire Department Engine 160, a 1,500-gpm pumper, and Quint 160, a 75-foot Squrt with a 1,750-gpm pump; Freeport Volunteer Fire Department Engine 70, a 1,500-gpm pumper; Kittanning Hose Company Number Six Tower 131, a 75-foot tower ladder with a 1,750-gpm pump, and Ambulance 130; Kittanning Hose Company Number Four Air Truck 121; Oklahoma Volunteer Fire Department Air Truck 49; and Ford City Hose Company Number One Ambulance 90.

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