3 Alarm Milton, Pennsylvania Rowhouse Blaze Claims Two Children, Leaves 16 Homeless

On Sunday, January 2, 2005 at 2128 the Milton Fire Department was dispatched to the 200 block of Mahoning St. for a reported structure fire with entrapment. Chiefs 1501(Shaffer) and 1502 (Ulrich) arrived to find 5 attached homes with heavy smoke and flames visible from the center unit and immediately requested a second alarm. Milton Police officers on scene confirmed two children trapped on the second floor of the involved structure. Both officers attempted rescues but were driven back by the flames.

Engine 15-1 and Truck 15-1 arrived on scene within 4 minutes of the initial dispatch to find heavy fire from all doors and windows on side A of both floors. An aggressive interior attack was initiated and crews were able to make the interior stairs before being driven back by the heavy volume of fire. Interior conditions began to deteriorate rapidly and all crews were evacuated from the structure. Within minutes of the evacuation fire was evident through the roof . The fire extended into the common cockloft of the exposures on sides B and D. Aggressive interior operations in the exposures, with the assistance of the mutual aid departments was instrumental in stopping the fire before it was able to reach the two end exposures on sides B and D. Crews from Milton remained on scene until 0330 assisting investigators and conducting extensive overhaul.

Two brothers, ages 6 and 9, perished in the blaze. One female was transported from the scene by BLS with minor burns and smoke inhalation. One firefighter was transported with chest pain. Three homes were destroyed and two damaged leaving 16 people homeless. The cause is currently under investigation but is not considered suspicious. This was the third multi-alarm blaze in the borough in 6 weeks.

Assisting the Milton Fire Department on scene were Milton Ambulance, William Cameron Engine Co.(Lewisburg), Mifflinburg Fire Department, White Deer Township Fire Department, Warrior Run Area Fire Department (Watsontown), Pottsgrove Fire Department, Evangelical Community Hospital Paramedics, Milton Police Department, and the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal.