SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, PA – At 11:55 PM on Sunday, May 13, Schuylkill County 9-1-1 Transmitted Box 37 for the address of 231 Pierce Street in the City of Pottsville for a reported house fire with entrapment. Responding units were advised of multiple calls reporting a fire with multiple people trapped within.
The police department arrived on the scene and confirmed a fully involved single family dwelling. Police requested one of the truck companies come right down Pierce Street and set up. Engine 11 arrived and took the address and began to stretch lines. Ladder 21 came up Pierce Street while Ladder 51 came from the opposite direction. Engine 32 arrived and also began to stretch lines. P-5 arrived and assumed command of the incident requesting a second alarm be struck.
Policed relayed they received reports of multiple people unaccounted for in the house. Multiple EMS units from Pottsville and Schuylkill Haven ALS staged at different points around the scene.
Crews experienced water issues while trying to contain the blaze which let the fire burn rapidly. Foam was introduced to the lines off Engine 11 which also utilized the deck gun charged with foam.
The fire continued to tear through the building and lick up the side of the exposure on the “D” side of the building. Crews entered the exposure and also went to the roof to check for extension.
The bulk of the fire was knocked down within twenty minutes of the first arriving crews. The fire was put under control at 12:57 AM. Extensive overhaul was needed with crews remaining on scene throughout the morning.
A County Coroner was requested to scene for six fatalities. Two adults and four children perished in the fire. At least three firefighters were injured while battling the blaze including one who fell off a ladder. All firefighters were believed to have minor injuries.