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Wednesday, March 27, 2013 

A lot can be learned from just listening to kitchen table talk and this is a quick example of a conversation that can be had at any firehouse across the United States. Remember rookies and new Firefighters, keep your ears open and your mouths shut when the seasoned men are telling stories, a lot can be picked up and learned.

This quick scenario comes from Fireman Jason Batz of the Reading City Fire Department in Reading, PA. Reading City does “work” on a regular basis and these Fireman are full of “Street Smart” knowledge.  


“While working the Rescue last tour, we were dispatched early in the morning by a police unit reporting an unknown gas hissing release at a local compressed gas company. After arrival it was determined that an oxygen dewar had burst it's high pressure relief disc and was discharging into the atmosphere.

With no knoxbox affixed to the building, crews considered using 2 ladders to bridge the fence for entry. A secondary survey found the fence secured with a standard case hardened american padlock. The hinge side was found to be secured with non-movable hinges. Upon closer look, the hinges relied upon a pin which was secured by a simple cotter pin. The pins were quickly removed and the fence was opened. The action was quick, simple, and the fence was able to be restored afterwards. It can't be said enough, when sizing up for entry don't overlook the obvious”.




Sunday, March 24, 2013 0815 Just after 08:15 this morning the 1st alarm was sent for a water heater fire at the KFC on Carlisle Pike in Silver Spring Township, Box 31-10. E133 (with 6), T33, E233 (with 4), and Traffic 33 responded. Medic 88 (returning from a medical call reported the incident) and Safety 33 arrived shortly after dispatch reporting smoke from the roof and eaves. E133 arrived and the crew stretched the initial attack line to the rear. Chief 33 (Hall) performed a 360 of the building gaining access to the front with keys supplied by an employee. E31 laid the supply line from the hydrant and T33 supplied E133 on arrival. As the rear door was being forced it was also unlocked quickly. The crew made entry finding fire at the ceiling level and heavy smoke throughout the building. Using a thermal imaging camera, crews located the fire and made a quick knockdown of visible fire then began opening up. Additional crews provided manpower for utility control, roof operations, and ventilation. Once confirmation that all fire was out, ventilation fans were used to remove smoke from the building. Crews on the roof also reported light smoke condition around a roof top HVAC unit and opened it up as well. Crews continued to work on overhaul and discovered a light smoke condition around a light fixture attachment to the building. Saws were used to open a void space between a parapet wall and roof decking. This area was overhauled and wet down. The PA State Police Fire Marshall is investigating. Assisting Silver Spring Township Companies were Citizens and Washington of Mechanicsburg, Hampden, Upper Allen (RIT), Camp Hill EMS, and West Shore EMS. Thanks to West Shore Bureau of Fire (E313) and Tanker 24 (Lisburn) for transferring to Station 33.

Story and photos courtesy of the New Kingstown Fire Company and Fire Chief Curt Hall




Monday, March 18, 2013 0330 This morning at around 0330hrs, Dauphin County Communications alerted Harrisburg City units to Box 1-3 for a reported house fire at 688 Schuylkill Street with possible entrapment.  Uptown units arrived with a working fire and still no confirmation that everyone was out.  With this information BC Horst requested the 1st alarm to be filled and an additional 1+1 to the scene.  The reported trapped occupants were in the other half of the duplex and were able to get out safely.  Units remained on scene for several hours with overhaul and investigations.  Mutual aid assistance was provided by Progress Fire Company (32), Penbrook Fire Company (30), DLA Fire Department (YC 69), West Shore Bureau of Fire (CC 13) as well as fill in companies at the city stations.  No one was injured in the incident.

Battalion Chief Horst had the Command

Story and photos by Tim Knepp




Monday, March 18, 2013    COAL TOWNSHIP (NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY), PA - On Monday March 18, 2013 at 09:20 hours the Coal Township Fire Department (Maine, Union, Forrest Hills, East End, Brady, and Fairview Fire Companies,) Coal Township Rescue Squad and AREA EMS were dispatched to 516 Webster St. in Coal Township for a house fire. The incident was located in the Ranshaw section of Coal Township.      Kulpmont Fire Chief 200 who lives across the street informed the dispatcher it was a working fire. He can see smoke and flames coming from the 2nd floor of the rear of the home. The fire continued to spread quickly and began to move to the attic and the roof. The fire was located on the left side of the double home. Neighbors assisted an elderly woman who lives next door out of her home to escape the fire.     The Coal Township Fire Chief arrived on the scene and established incident command. The fire quickly spread into the attic and start to spread into the next door home’s attic. He then quickly requested the second alarm to the working fire in the double home structure. The second alarm brought Shamokin Ladder 32, Shamokin Rescue 62, Shamokin Liberty Engine 21 and the remaining of the Coal Township Fire Department.   Brady Engine 151 was on scene first and established a water supply from a hydrant at 6th and Webster Streets. Union Engine 131 arrived and established a water supply from a hydrant at 5th and Webster Streets. The Engine 151 crew deployed a number of hose lines and made an offensive attack to stop the fire.  Fire fighters enter the home with multiple hose lines to find and attack the fire.   The Maine Fire Company Engine 111 established third water supply at 6th and Main Street and laid into the scene.  Engine 111 staged behind Engine 151 and sent its crew to help with the interior attack. Shamokin Engine 21 staged to the rear of the structure on Maple Street. The additional arriving fire fighters assisted the first engine crews in stretching a hose line to the rear of the residence to attack the fire from the rear.    Incident Command assigned the additional arriving Coal Township and Shamokin units to assist the first in companies in fighting the fire. Command then had Mount Carmel Rescue and Kulpmont Engine 221 respond to the scene to assist with RIT operations. The third alarm was then placed on stand by for a possible response to the scene.    Shamokin Ladder 32 staged on the Alpha-Delta Corner of the home and sent its ladder to the roof. The Ladder 32 sent its crew to the Side Alpha to throw ground ladders and to do ventilation. The additional Shamokin rescue and engine crews backed up the attack crew and entered the next door residence and stopped the spreading fire in the attic.   The attic of both homes became well involved and began to vent through the roof on the home on the left. In minutes the conditions in both homes attic worsen with chance of a major collapse becoming possible. Incident Command then activated the evacuation signal and had all personnel leave both homes. In a matter of minutes the fire vented from both homes roofs causing a collapse into the second floor. Command then ordered multiple large hose lines and portable master stream monitor placed into operation. Engine 151 used its deck gun to shoot water at the large flames coming from the roof. Ladder 32 then placed its elevated master stream into service and aimed for the collapsing roof.  The Kulpmont Engine 221 and Rescue 5 arrived on the scene and its crews to the front and back of the home to provide RIT operations.   It was then learned that a water pressure problem surfaced and started to hamper the master stream operation. Command then ordered a number of tankers trucks to the scene to establish an addition water supply. Tanker trucks from outside Coal Township were brought in and established a shuttle system. A refill site was the established on Route 61 near the Walmart.   The next twenty minutes of master stream operations caused the flames in the attic to disappear. The smoke and fire conditions in the rest of the home improved and allowed for and interior attack. Fire fighters re-enter the home with hose lines and attacked the fire in the second floor and attic. Fifteen minutes later the fire fighters had the fire under control.  Fire fighters remained on the scene for a few hours to mop up and prevent rekindles. AREA EMS stood by on scene and provided rehab to the cold fire fighters.     Pictures and Videos by the Coal Region Correspondent Stephen Barrett     CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICTURES AND VIDEOS BY COALREGIONFIRE:     YOUTUBE VIDEO COMING SOON!     CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES AND VIDEOS BY J C KRIESHER:




Sunday, March 3, 2013  Units from the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire arrived on Kensington Street in the area of 21st to find smoke showing. Initial reports came in with occupants trapped and HPD was asking units to "step-it-up". The Squad (LT Llllooyyd) arrived and stretched a line to the room of origin and made a quick knock. LT 8 then reported no extension and for Tower 1 to hold off on crackin' the roof and that the primary was negative. The Kings of the Hill held this room and contents to a local box alarm and Tower 2 and Wagon 3 remained in quarters to protect the citizens of Harrisburg City.

Pictures Courtesy of Ricky D Weese.




Friday, March 1, 2013  LT Kelley was riding Engine 3 in Lancaster City the night of 2/18/13 when they received numerous calls of a working row home fire with multiple people trapped. Engine 3 arrived and crews went to work immediately, searching above the fire and giving the trapped occupants all of their efforts. As Engine 3’s crew made the 2nd floor conditions deteriorated trapping the two Firemen. LT  Kelley suffered major burns and will be out of work for an extended period of time. Please help offset the costs him and his family will endure during this time of healing by purchasing one of these t-shirts.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013  DETAILS
          On the morning of February 26, 1993, a plot was set out that was originally intended for the United Nations building however a last minute change would set Lower Manhattan front and center. Around noon, a yellow Ryder van made its way into level B2 of the underground parking garage of the North Tower. Ramzi Yousef and Eyad Ismoil exited the van, set a 20’ fuse and left the area.
At 1218hrs, the 1500lbs. bomb exploded, creating a 98’ crater and knocked out all electrical power to the building. Located across the street, the quarters of Engine and Truck 10 called in the alarm, stating they believed it was an underground transformer vault explosion and would be responding. With smoke present on arrival, nothing indicated anything other than originally thought. It was not until making their way into the parking garage and learning of a ceiling collapse in the train station below did the incident become apparent.
With electrical power lost trapping hundreds in stuck elevators, smoke up to the 93 floor, and emergency calls from the Vista Hotel that actually sat directly above the blast, multiple alarms and two command posts were quickly established. For the first time in 15 years, a Borough Call* was issued. By 1252hrs the incident reached 8 alarms and at its peak would see 156 FDNY units including 31 chief officers.
With calls pouring into the Manhattan Dispatchers Center, the over flow was rerouted to the remaining four borough dispatch centers. All five centers brought in extra call takers but still became overwhelmed with phones ringing constantly for the next six hours.
          Part of the 71 separate companies assigned to operate in the below grade levels was Rescue 1. While trying to access a trapped occupant, the concrete floor gave way beneath a firefighter, dropping him into a 45’ deep crater into the parking garage. Among other injuries received was an open fracture to his left leg and a broken forehead. Surrounded by burning cars and debris, he crawled his way to a broken water pipe for safety. Unable to communicate through the thousands of transmissions on his radio, he had to yell his rescuers to his location. While under protection from engine companies whom could not see the fire and had to be directed by the downed firefighter, he was rescued and removed via stokes basket to the hospital were he recovered from his injuries.
Crews continued to work non stop long into the night to stabilize the incident. Once all fire in the parking garage has been extinguished, every elevator forced open and cleared of civilians, and all 8 million square feet of office and hotel space searched, the incident was placed under control at 0225hrs on February 27.
          At the time, the Twin Towers were the second tallest buildings in the world, and a symbol. It was the intention of the terrorists to have the North Tower collapse into the South Tower, resulting in a domino effect, killing thousands. While the action failed, engineers felt if the bomb would have been parked closer to the foundation rather than the middle, the intended result may have occurred.
          A Vehicle Identification Number was located in the blast, leading authorities to the Ryder rental company. Mohammad Salameh, a co-conspirator, was arrested in March when he reported the van stolen and returned to pick up his $400 deposit. Yousef is currently serving a life sentence in Colorado along side his counterpart Ismoil, who will be eligible for release in 2204.
          With the blast leaving 7 dead, and 1,042 injured, a memorial was built and placed on Austin J. Tobin Plaza.
“On February 26, 1993, a bomb set by terrorists exploded below this site. This horrible act of violence killed innocent people, injured thousands, and made victims of us all.”
The granite memorial fountain was destroyed in the 9/11 attacks, however a small fragment was recovered and will be used as the centerpiece of a new memorial honoring the victims of both attacks.

Photo credits
text credits




Monday, February 25, 2013  Mon, Feb 25th, 2013 3:56 pm - Today we were dispatched for a garage fire, Lt 16 on the scene with working fire. C3-30 Flinn arrived on scene gave size up and established command. Crews from E4-30 and E37 arrived to pull lines from both rigs. Support units from  mutual aid arrived on scene to assist with extinguishment and an extensive overhaul.

Command: C3-30

Units: 30,31,37,20,27,28,69 Transfer units Dauphin Rescue 40, Dauphin Tower 32, Monroe Engine 25, N Middleton Engine 2-39




Saturday, February 23, 2013  SHENANDOAH (SCHUYLKILL COUNTY),PA: Shenandoah Fire and EMS was dispatched to the 38 West Coal Street in Shenandoah at 03:30 hours for an house fire with entrapment. Police and EMS arrived on the scene minutes and reported a working row home fire. First fire units found heavy fire on the first and second floor of two homes in the middle of the block. One resident jumped from a third floor window and was seriously injured. A second resident was rescued with a ladder and also taken to the hospital.  The Fire Chief then requested the second alarm to the scene to assist with the growing fire. In a matter of minutes the fire appeared to be spreading to other exposure homes on both sides. The Chief then ordered the third alarm to the scene to assist with manpower. The fire then spread and traveled through the roof top of the homes. The fire then worked its way down homes on Jardon Street heading south of the main fire. A fourth alarm was then summoned to the scene to prevent losing the entire block. Command then ordered all interior crews out of the building to regroup. A number of elevated and ground master streams were then placed into service.  The fire was then brought under control in five hours. Fire units then cleared the scene by 11:00 hours.   This was one of the largest of the many of fires that hit Shenandoah in the past year.
Story by the Coal Region Correspondent Stephen Barrett.
Pictures from the Shenandoah Polish American Fire Company.




Wednesday, February 20, 2013  DETAILS

Story by Staff Correspondent Matt Leonard

On February 20, 2003, 211 Cowesett Ave was hosting the rock band Great White. Among the 462 in attendance was Brian Butler. With his camera rolling at 23:07:52 hrs, four pyrotechnics capable of sending sparks 15’ high were activated. Seven seconds later flames are seen on the wall behind the band. On his way out, Butler keeps his camera rolling and facing behind him towards the growing flames. At 23:08:30 hrs the band stops playing realizing the seriousness of the situation. Shortly after, the club’s fire detection system activates and the first 911 reports were being made as smoke rapidly spreads throughout the over capacity club.

After exiting the club, Butler went to the rear of the structure to find smoke from an open door and venting from a broken window. Returning to the main entrance at 23:09:36 hrs, Butler was confronted with the bone chilling screams of the people stacked in the doorway from floor to ceiling with smoke pushing around them. Three minutes later fire will be seen from exterior walls and the roof. Despite the immediate notification and closest firehouse 1700’ away, fire was coming from the structure on arrival with hundreds trapped and displaced to a restaurant across the street in search of help. Multiple alarms and units were additionally called to assist with not the fire, but rather the 230 injuries.


WPRI cameraman Brian Butler’s film has been used by NIST to conduct testing on the materials used around the band’s platform, from these, it was determined the dance floor area would have had conditions exceeding survivability limits within 90 seconds of ignition. Ironically, Butler was in attendance doing a piece on nightclub safety.

The 4th deadliest nightclub fire in American history killed 100 and injured 230 in roughly 10 minutes. In December 2003, Nightclub owners Jeff and Michael Derderian along with Great White manager Dan Biechele were charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Biechele, showing remorse and emotion, pled guilty to 100 counts of manslaughter in February 2006 with the "attempt to bring peace." Sentenced in May 2006, his time was reduced and released in March 2008.

Included in the death toll was Great White’s lead guitarist. Every show since the tragedy begins with a prayer and a portion of the proceeds going to the Station Family Fund. The band stated they will never again perform "Desert Moon" as it was being played when the fire started.


Built in 1946, the 4500 square foot wood constructed building had a legal capacity of 404. The main entrance, which held the panic crowd, were double doors leading into an 8’ hallway to a single door and vestibule. A raised wooden platform used as a drum stage was surrounded by 2 ½" non-fire resistive polyurethane foam. Not required when the structure was built, sprinklers were required to be installed when ownership changed from a restaurant to a nightclub; however no fire suppression system was ever installed.

Shortly after the tragedy, Governor Donald Carcieri ended pyrotechnics at venues that hold less than 300 people.

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