PA Firefighters Make 'Heroic' Rescue at Residential Fire

Aug. 4, 2021
Mechanicsburg Fire Department crews pulled a man in cardiac arrest from a burning duplex in what the fire chief called a "true example of heroic firefighters."

Two people are recovering after a “heroic” rescue from a duplex fire in Mechanicsburg on Tuesday afternoon.

Mechanicsburg Fire Department Chief Gary Neff said when crews arrived around 5:50 the home in the 400 block of West Simpson Street, there was heavy fire coming from the back of the duplex and smoke throughout. As the first unit at the scene, Neff and his firefighters learned a victim was inside the front door and another person missing.

Neff said his crews went to work on the fire, but also made a “heroic rescue” of the person inside the building.

“We were able to bring him out,” Neff said. The man was in cardiac arrest when they got to him, but EMS was able to revive him.

“I understand that he seems to be coming through the recovery,” Neff said. A second person was treated for injuries from the fire, and everyone has been accounted for.

Neff was not able to give a complete number of people living in the residences, but added that authorities hadn’t determined the relationship the rescued man had to the occupants.

One dog is unaccounted for as of Tuesday evening.

It was important for Neff to call for additional help as soon as they got to the scene and learned of the missing people, plus the extent of the fire, he said.

“We had one victim already in the door, and I had to help get him out, and we were working on the second one, so we automatically called it,” Neff said.

The timing matched up well with another major incident, a crash on Interstate 81 that had happened earlier in the afternoon.

The crash, less than 20 minutes from the fire, meant that some units were wrapping up their work on the interstate and were able to get to the house quickly. Units from as far as Shermans Dale, Perry County, made it to the scene and were among dozens of firefighters present.

In the blocks surrounding the fire, residents were taking it upon themselves to help block off any roads leading to Simpson Street, where all the firetrucks needed to be. This meant personally standing on the roads and redirecting drivers or using trash cans to block the road from alleyways in the area.

No cause was determined immediately, but Neff said the state police fire marshal was called.

“We do need a thorough investigation,” Neff said.

With so much involved in the fire, Neff was grateful for the work of the dozens of firefighters involved.

“It was a true example of heroic firefighters and at the same time, a wonder true example of support of mutual aid,” Neff said.


©2021 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Firehouse, create an account today!