Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Charlie Dickinson Personnel: 890 career firefighters Apparatus: 30 engine companies, 11 ladder companies, three quints Population: 550,000 Area: 55.3 square miles The thick black smoke obliterating downtown Pittsburgh's skyline meant trouble for the...
To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with Firehouse. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
Engine 15 arrived and upon seeing the fire, called out second and third alarms. Two firefighters banged loudly on the doors of darkened homes to evacuate residents not already out watching the growing conflagration. The company deployed their portable deck gun at the fire blowing toward them. Propane, gasoline, acetylene, adhesives, solvent, paints and drums of urethane were within the building and explosions continued. Other arriving companies set up but were forced to relocate and take a defensive approach as the flames intensified and advanced. Collapse zones were established and the fire re-sectored, focusing on the exposures because firefighters believed the construction company was fully engulfed and could incur no further loss.
Second- and third-alarm units used aerial streams on the main fire and focused on exposures. Fire extended from the warehouse to the office, then to three 2 1/2-story homes. The intense heat melted vinyl and insulbrick siding on homes 100 feet away.
Two more alarms were sounded, the most in the system, plus a special request for more equipment. An interior attack was mounted and the fire was contained and extinguished by 7:09 A.M. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries and six residents were left homeless.
Ninety-two firefighters, including eight chiefs, responded from 15 engine companies and four truck companies, plus a support and arson unit. Damage to the construction company, six homes and three garages was placed at $1.1 million.