SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. – At 8:30 AM on Friday, October 13, the Tamaqua Fire Department and Tamaqua Rescue were dispatched to 501 North Railroad Street in the borough for a possible house fire.
Tamaqua EMS was responding to a different incident and quickly reported they could see a working fire in the area. First responding units were advised they were going to find a working fire.
Engine 778 arrived on scene to find fire showing from the rear of two story duplex at 500-502 North Railroad Street. Engine 778 secured a water supply at the corner of Railroad and Vine Streets. Engine 776 came in to the scene and secured an additional water supply from Washington Street. Captain 777 arrived on scene and assumed command. At this time, Command requested a second alarm to the scene.
As crews were stretching lines and getting them in service, firefighters heard a train horn sounding from the center of town. An immediate request was made to notify the railroad to suspend operations in the area. The train was able to get the message and stopped a block away from the scene.
Ladder 770 arrived on scene and set up on the “B” side of the building. The ladder was set up and flown to the roof and crews ascended for vertical ventilation of the building. Engine 782 arrived and positioned in front of the ladder while Engine 784 stood by at Washington and Vine Streets. Rescue 992 and Squad 786 staged on Washington Street and filled SCBA cylinders.
Multiple lines were stretched off 778 and 776 and the bulk of the fire was darkened down by the 20 minute PAR check. Coaldale Tower 40-24 arrived as part of the second alarm and was directed to the front of the building. Lansford and Summit Hill were also dispatched on the second alarm and set up a Rapid Intervention Team on the “A” side.
Tower 40-24 was set up and flew to the A/D corner and opened up another vent hole. The tower then went along the “D” side of the building and pulled siding off in search of hidden fire.
EMS crews from Tamaqua, Lehighton and Penn Mahoning responded to the scene to aide with treatment of multiple patients who were transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. None of the patients seemed to be in critical condition.
The fire was placed under control at 9:15 AM. Crews remained on scene searching for hot spots and picking up their equipment throughout the morning. Firefighters on the scene stated the side of the residence where the fire originated was vacant.