Pennsylvania Crews Work to Save Historic Structure

On Saturday, Sept. 6, just as hurricane Hanna was leaving the area, the Washington Boro Volunteer Fire Company (Station 7-8) was dispatched to a residential flooding assignment at a residence along the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County. The area had just received approximately four inches of water as Hurricane Hanna moved through area.

Deputy Chief Broome and Assistant Chief Goe arrived to find a basement flooded with over six inches of mud and water. They determined that the basement wall on Side B had partially collapsed and the house dating back to the late 1800s had additional serious fractures, some two inches wide, from the ground to the roof line on the B/C corner in its brickwork. The crews from Squad 7-8 secured the utilities and moved the 70-year-old occupant from the dwelling.

The 7-8 Command requested through county's communications center that the Rapid Assessment Team from the Millersville Volunteer Fire Company Collapse Team respond. Two squad leaders responded and after evaluating the 100 year-old structure and considering the historical importance of the dwellings in the town, they came up with a game plan to keep the dwelling from collapsing or collapsing onto an "B Side" exposure--another dwelling.

That plan meant filling out the technical rescue box. That brought two special units and a heavy rescue from the Millersville Volunteer Fire Company (Station 6-5). That team responded with 18 building collapse technicians. The team built a pair of rakers on the "C Side" and a set of three rakers on the "B Side" to support the corner which was fractured. The team had to contend with, not a debris pile, but a sinkhole on the "B Side". A trench was dug to divert any additional rain water from entering the basement area.

The local building inspector and structural engineer were called in to come up with a long range plan to save the historical dwelling.

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