Power Outage Contributes to Row Home Fire In Steelton, Pennsylvania

In the mid-morning hours of January 26, 2007 a dump truck doing construction work struck a telephone pole, knocking out a major service line, and cut power to large portions of Steelton, Pa. That action would not only cause an inconvenience to residents, schools, and businesses but would contribute to a fast moving fire that heavily damaged 3 row homes.

At 1125 hours Dauphin County Communications dispatched Box 501 to 156 Conestoga Street for a structure fire. Steelton Fire Chief Gene Vance (Chief 50) arrived in moments and reported he had a 2.5 story, frame, dwelling fully involved. He requested an additional two trucks, Harrisburg Tower 1 for work and Progress Truck 32 for RIT, above the first alarm. First arriving Engine 50 secured a hydrant and two lines were stretched as heavy fire was consuming the entire first floor. Bressler Engine 41, Swatara Township Engine 49, and Paxtang Rescue 40 arrived assisting with fire attack. All occupants were out of all 3 structures.

However, the fire had already gained control of the void spaces and was now being fanned by high wind gusts through the cockloft of the exposure buildings. After numerous holes were cut in the roof, interior crews worked hard to contain the flames despite the coldest temperatures of the year. Firefighters needed about an hour to control the fire.

The fire was sparked by an occupant who was cooking at the time the outage occurred, subsequently losing power, and inadvertently left the stove on during the outage. The occupant left the residence and when the power was restored the stove caught fire quickly igniting the kitchen. The fire left 4 adults and 5 children homeless. No injuries were reported to occupants or firefighters.