Fire hits Franklin Township fire station

by Karen Ferrick-Roman, Times Staff 01/25/2004

A fire damaged two fire trucks, including this one, Saturday morning at the No. 2 substation of the Franklin Twp. Fire Department.
The Times / Brian McDermott

FRANKLIN TWP. - Seven companies swarmed into the driveway of the Franklin Township Municipal Building Saturday.

It looked like a convention, but it was a regular business call, dispatched around 11:35 a.m. to the home of the No. 2 substation of the township fire department.

"Of all places, the firehouse," said Brian Stuck, who lives next door along Route 288.

Stuck said he and his family saw smoke coming from the building just before noon.

They spied no flames, heard no explosion.

A state fire marshal has determined that the fire started inside the building, not on one of the trucks, said assistant chief Jeff Crespo.

The case was ruled accidental and not electrical, "but he did not give me a thing other than that," Crespo said.

In his 15 years with the department, this is the first time Crespo has had firefighters called to douse flames at their own station.

The fire was out in about 30 to 40 minutes, Crespo said.

Short-lived though it was, it burned hot enough to melt the tail lights of the 1,600-gallon tanker/pumper, one of three trucks parked in the garage. Flames ate through an undetermined amount hose, caused smoke damage to the building and spread its soot over the souped-up pickup used to fight brush fires.

An antique 1936 Dodge truck kept in the garage didn't appear to be damaged, Crespo said. Nor did the neighboring township offices.

Crespo said no one was in the building when the fire began.

More then 50 fellow firefighters responded to the morning call, coming from Perry and Wayne townships, Chewton, Zelienople, Ellwood City, Harmony and, of course, Franklin.

Having a hydrant at the end of the lot was a help, but the cold weather was not.

The water dripping off trucks and hoses threatened to turn the parking lot into a skating rink by nightfall.

Although four trucks are kept in the company's Frisco station, near Ellwood City, the equipment damage "does really hurt us at this end of the township," Crespo said.

One of the trucks will be moved into the municipal building station to provide coverage to the area, he said.

The trucks and equipment were insured.