LEHIGH COUNTY, PA – Firefighters from three counties spent the afternoon of Wednesday, March 30 battling a three alarm dwelling fire in Slatington Borough. Lehigh County 9-1-1 began dispatching units at 12:12 PM to 562 West Franklin Street for a reported fire. The initial alarm included Station 24 (Slatington), Engine 2911 (Walnutport) and Tanker 621 (Emerald).
Chief 2401 (Weaver) went responding to the scene and immediately requested a second alarm as he could see a column of smoke from across town. The chief was advised that the caller reported a house on fire and the occupant had been removed.
The second alarm was dispatched at 12:14 brining the remainder of Station 29, Engine 611, Engine 912 (Friedens), Engine 1611 (Neffs), Engine 4712 (Lehigh Twp.), Station 11 for their Rapid Intervention Team and Station 67 (Northern Valley EMS).
Chief 2401 arrived on scene and found a duplex with the entire “A” side consumed with fire. Another duplex was located within feet of the “D” side and was beginning to be involved. The fire had burnt through the electrical and cable lines bringing them down in front of the structure. 2401 established Franklin Street command on fireground two.
Truck 2431 arrived on the scene and obtained a water supply from 6th and Franklin Streets. A Blitz Fire was stretched from the truck and crews began to hit the A/D corner and protect the D exposure. Attack lines were also stretched to begin hitting the fire. Tanker 621 arrived and assisted in the attack.
Fire conditions in the D exposure were worsening, command requested a third alarm be dispatched. The third alarm included Carbon Tower 721 (Palmerton), Engine 1012 (Germansville), Tanker 2221 (Schnecksville) and Truck 1631. A cascade from Station 5 (Coplay) and rehab from Station 66 (Macungie EMS) were also dispatched.
Engine 1611 was directed to grab a hydrant at Washington and 6th streets and proceed to the scene. The water supply was established and two attack lines were stretched to the rear of the structures. The buildings were laddered and a crew was sent to the D exposure roof to ventilate.
Rescue 1141 arrived as RIT with Chief 1104 as the RIT officer. Due to the number of buildings involved, 1104 requested Station 2 (Catasauqua) be dispatched as a second rapid intervention team.
Truck 1631 was requested to approach from 7th and Franklin streets and set up in front of 621. The tower was placed in service and master stream operations were initiated.
Command requested Carbon Station 1 (Aquashicola) to the scene, Station 2 (Bowmanstown) to Station 24 and Station 5 (Lehighton) to Station 29. Engine 1211 (Laury’s Station) was requested to stand by at Station 24 but later moved into the scene. An additional rehab was also requested bringing North Penn Goodwill of Souderton to the scene.
With the elevated master stream and multiple hand lines, progress was being made on the original fire building and the D exposure. Firefighters had knocked down the bulk of the fire within an hour but extensive overhaul would be needed.
Crews began breaking down and getting their rigs back in service around 4:30 PM and the final crews were available later in the evening.
Close to fifteen residents were displaced by the fire. No injuries were reported by civilians or firefighters. A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause.