Columbia, Pennsylvania Firefighters Respond to House Fire with Entrapment

At 0529 hours on Sunday, March 28, 2004, the Columbia Borough Fire Department, consisting of three stations, were dispatched to 27 South Third Street for a dwelling fire with reported entrapment. Shortly after the dispatch the police department arrived and confirmed a working house fire with two elderly people trapped.

Engine 84-1 arrived at 0533 hours to find heavy flames coming from the second and third floors on side one. The dwelling was a middle of the row, row home. Engine 84-1 quickly put into service 2" CAFS attack lines.

Chief 84 had the operations sector and Chief 81 had the command.

Truck 81 was given the assignment of search/rescue for the fire building. At 0537 hours Rescue 84-1 arrived and was given the assignment to split their crew to perform search/rescue and put additional handlines into service to back up the engine crew. Truck 87 arrived and they were given the assignment to go to the roof.

A second alarm was requested at 0541 hours which brought in mutual aid from outside the borough.

An elderly male was found, with the use of thermal imaging camera, unconscious and not breathing. The victim was found on the second floor outside the fire room by the crew from Rescue 84-1. A quick extrication was performed and the victim was transferred to EMS. The second victim an elderly female with Alzheimer's was rescued from the first floor by neighbors prior to fire department arrival and transported to a local healthcare facility for treatment.

Engine 84-1 placed into service its pre-piped water monitor to knock down the bulk of the fire in the roof after the second victim was confirmed out of the building.

The fire was declared under control after two hours. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The fire loss is estimated at $100,000.