On The Job: PENNSYLVANIA

On Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, the Pottstown, PA, Fire Department was faced with heavy fire emitting from two apartment buildings, six occupants needing rescue from the second floor and a jumper who was on the ground, critically injured.


On Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, the Pottstown, PA, Fire Department was faced with heavy fire emitting from two apartment buildings, six occupants needing rescue from the second floor and a jumper who was on the ground, critically injured. The Pottstown Fire Department was dispatched to a report of...


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The investigation into the cause and origin of the fire began at 9 A.M. on Saturday. Investigators from the Pottstown Fire Marshal's Office and Montgomery County Fire Investigators and a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal operated at the scene for eight hours. Heavy equipment was used to make the scene safe, to assist with the investigation and to allow for complete extinguishment of the fire. The cause of the fire was listed as undetermined. Damage was estimated at over $1 million.

Command noted the successes of this incident: the use of water curtains helped to protect the exposures; the rescue of five civilians from the fire building within nine minutes of the initial dispatch; and the containment of the fire to the two buildings that were initially involved. Challenges included the close proximity of the exposures on the B and D sides, which did not allow for direct fire attack from the sides, and severe arcing of the electric service. It took over one hour to get the electric service secured and a great deal of caution was necessary while operating in the area.

JAY K. BRADISH/IFPA, Firehouse® news editor, is a former captain in the Bradford Township, PA, Fire Department. He has been a volunteer firefighter and fire photographer for more than 25 years.