South Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania Apartment Fire

South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County firefighters were dispatched to a reported dwelling fire with smoke showing 9:16 am, Monday July 18, 2005.

Cetronia Chief Jim Balliet confirmed a working fire in the third floor of a renovated 115 year old Victorian home used as apartments. Cetronia Engine 311, first on scene, utilized an aggressive internal attack with one 1 3/4" hand line charged with water and Class A foam.

The crew consisting of Cetronia firefighters Sean Papp, Dennis Cintron and Woodlawn's Captain Dave Cope, gained quick access to the third floor. Confronting a heavy fire and smoke condition, they quickly knocked the fire down and began immediate hydraulic ventilation.

A back-up line was quickly brought into the building by the crew arriving on Cetronia Tower 331.

Though LDH was supplied to 331, extensive overhead wiring and thick tree growth prevented the efficient use of the tower.

The fire was declared under control by 10:11 am, by Chief Balliet.

In addition to South Whitehall's Cetronia, Greenawalds and Woodlawn stations, additional equipment, firefighters and fire police were dispatched from Western Salisbury, Fogelsville, Tri-Clover, Emmaus, and Lower Macungie.

The hot and humid weather that has been pervasive in the Eastern US contributed to rapid fatigue and need for significant rehab time for all personnel operating on the scene.

Allentown City and Whitehall Township provided backup and were dispatched to a commercial fire alarm in South Whitehall Township during the fire.

The building is owned by Dorney Park and Wild Water Kingdom, Inc. and is located on the main employee access road to the park. This created a challenge to both Dorney Park management as well as to South Whitehall Police and supporting fire police.

All responding units were released by 1310 with Woodlawn Tanker 3221, Cetronia Tower 331 and Squad 351 remaining on scene until 1415.

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