Lancaster, Pennsylvania Dwelling Fire

LANCASTER TOWNSHIP, PA - Lancaster Township Fire Department was dispatched to the 1300 block of Meadowcreek Lane, Saturday, January 14th, for a dwelling fire with possible entrapment.

A neighbor at 1330 Meadowcreek Lane was awoke by a large expolsion at about 1 a.m. to find his neighbors garage in a ball of flames. The neighbor called 911 and screamed for his wife to evacuate the house.

Against police department orders, the homeowner entered the burning building and rescued 4 exotic birds in 2 cages before the fire department arrived.

Lancaster Township Deputy Chief Ron Comfort Jr. was the first to arrive and found the ranch home of S.J. Lombardo, 1332 Meadowcreek Lane, "fully involved'' in fire and requested a 2nd alarm.

Heavy fire conditions were present in the garage area that was extending into the house. The intense heat had also begun to expose the neighbors house.

Lancaster Township Lieutenant Chris Mosso performed a 360 recon and prepared to ventilate the building after it was confirmed that all occupants were accounted for.

The blaze was declared a defensive operation initially, due to the amount of visible fire. The primary concern upon arrival was the protection of the exposure building.

A 2 1/2" hand line was used to cool down the exposed house and extinguish the burning embers of the garage, a car and a boat parked outside of the garage.

A preconnected deck gun atop Engine 6-6-2 was used to attempt to knock down the fire. The initial burst of water extinguished the thermal column and much of the exterior fire.

An inherent limitation of apparatus mounted deck guns is their high location above the pump panel. From street level, the stream is required to be pointed below the level of the safety stops to be effective.

The crew from Engine 6-6-1 performed a quick evaluation of the interior from the front door and a request was made by Lancaster Township Captain Scott Slaymaker and Lieutenant Paul Castline to transition into an offensive operation due to the fire conditions being less on the interior.

Command agreed and 3 additional 1 3/4" handlines were ordered, one to the rear of the building, one through the basement advanced by Rohrerstown Truck 6-7 crew and one line in the front door advanced by Captain Scott Slaymaker and Lieutenant Paul Castline.

Before the line was in the front door, the fire had engulfed the entire kitchen and dinning room area, from the ceiling to almost 3/4 of the way down the wall.

Given another 2 minutes or so it would have flashed, it was hot and conditions were deteriorating quickly said Lieutenant Castline.

A daylight basement provided direct access into the kitchen. A staircase ascended to the first floor, into the seat of the fire. As one line came in from the front of the home towards the back, Rohrerstown Truck 6-7 crew was able to apply water directly into the kitchen and knock the fire down very quickly before it extended.

With the combined efforts, the fire was held to the kitchen and dining room and a quick knock down was performed.

Without the aggressive efforts of all involved, the house would be a foundation today said Lieutenant Castline.

None of the four occupants was injured.

One Lancaster Township firefighter sprained his ankle and required treatment at Lancaster General Hospital, said Deputy Chief Comfort.

The home was full of furniture and other goods, to the point there barely was a path from room to room. This added to the fire load and decreased maneuverability inside the dwelling and contributed to the firefighter injury.

The blaze apparently started in the garage and spread into the home, causing between $30,000 and $40,000 damage, investigators said.

The attached garage was reduced to smoldering timbers. Heat was so intense it discolored the bricks of the neighbor