On The Job – Pennsylvania: Firefighters Dodge "Bullets" On "Goose Day"

Patrick Pauly reports on a house fire where the water supply stopped, two collapses occurred and a firefighter was trapped. Share the many lessons learned at this unusual incident.


LEWISTOWN FIRE DEPARTMENT Chief Robert McCaa Personnel: 90 volunteer firefighters Apparatus: Three engines, one aerial ladder, one ladder tower, one rescue/engine Population: 9,200 Area: Two square miles Sept. 29 is known as "Goose Day" in Mifflin County, PA, dating to an English...


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That said, there were many positive aspects that day. They included:

  • The successful rescue of a trapped firefighter was accomplished with minor injuries to him.
  • Rescuers received only minor injuries when the secondary collapse occurred. This was due to the use of SCBA and protective clothing.
  • Firefighters from Duncan's department, and thus emotionally affected, were kept away from the entrapment area.
  • Level 2 accountability was established and maintained.
  • Mutual aid response from outside counties proved valuable for rescue efforts and stand-by coverage.
  • County EMA response and assistance was excellent.
  • CISM and clergy were available early.
  • Local EMS provided ALS standby and rehab despite receiving numerous other calls. Their efforts were stepped up after the secondary collapse, which required multiple EMS companies lending mutual aid.

Patrick Pauly is a 33-year veteran of the fire service, employed full-time as a fire service education specialist at the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy. Teaching and coordinating the activities of the Resident and "Academy On The Road" training programs, his main topic areas are structural firefighting, safety and survival, and firefighter rescue. Pauly spent 31 years in the Lewistown, PA, Fire Department, the last seven as deputy chief. He is now active with the West Granville Fire Company. Pauly is nationally certified as a Firefighter III, Fire Instructor II and Fire Officer I, and is a Pennsylvania-certified EMT. He holds an associate's degree in computer science technology.