Enroute to Fire Alarm, Pa. Crew Finds Working Fire

July 6, 2013
The Liberty engine company was responding to a fire alarm activation when the crew spotted smoke coming from a building.

July 05--Lebanon firefighters responding to an automatic fire alarm at a downtown business spotted an actual fire in a home on North Eighth Street Friday morning.

The fire was quickly brought under control, but electrical problems with the house caused it to be condemned, said Lebanon Fire Commissioner Duane Trautman.

Fire crews housed at the Liberty Fire Station at North Ninth and Mifflin streets were heading toward RLD Associates, 302 Cumberland St., about 11:40 a.m. when they saw smoke billowing from a third-story window at 345 N. Eighth St.

"The Liberty engine was driving by and stopped when they saw smoke from the third floor front," Trautman said. "They worked their way up and found an active fire on a mattress and some things in a room on the third floor."

The fire was quickly extinguished, but there was extensive interior damage to the room, which Trautman estimated at $7,500 to $10,000.

While doing an inspection of the room, Trautman said, he received an electrical shock from an outlet with faulty wiring.

"At least that outlet is wired backward," he said. "But the fact that it didn't pop any circuit breakers or function properly makes me think the whole place is suspect, so we condemned it on the spot."

The property, owned by Larry G. Wolfe Jr. of Palmyra, was recently inspected under the city's Residential Rental Housing Licensing Program and numerous violations were found, Trautman added. Had it not been for the building code violations, the

residents would have been able to remain in the house, he said.

The four adults and one child who live in the house were given temporary lodging by the Lebanon Chapter of the American Red Cross.

As to the cause of the fire, Trautman said, all evidence points to careless smoking.

"The place is electrically derelict," he said. "The electricity, I think, is unrelated to the fire but caused the condemnation."

The original fire alarm on Cumberland Street was covered by other Lebanon fire crews and turned out to be a false alarm, Trautman said.

[email protected]; 272-5611, ext. 149

Copyright 2013 - Lebanon Daily News, Pa.

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