Firefighter briefly trapped in Pa. fire escapes injury, goes back in
The firefighter became trapped on the third floor while searching for residents reportedly still in the building
The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A firefighter was able to escape injury after being briefly trapped while fighting a two-alarm fire in Harrisburg.
Crews were dispatched at around 11:45 a.m. Thursday to the 500 block of Emerald Street in Harrisburg for what was reported as smoke in a building and turned out to be a duplex on fire.
Harrisburg fire chief Brian Enterline said firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke coming from the second and third floor. Firefighters were also told two residents were still inside the residence, but Enterline said the information turned out to be untrue.
“Our troops made an aggressive attack,” he said. “They got up to the third floor searching for these folks that were supposed to be there.”
It was during that search that a firefighter became trapped on the third floor and was “enveloped by fire,” Enterline said. That firefighter was able to escape out a window and down the ladder of the residence.
Not only was the firefighter unscathed, but he went back into the residence to fight the fire after being evaluated at the scene.
“He was burnt up pretty good, his gear and everything burnt pretty good, but he went right back into the building to do the job that we’re here to do for the citizens,” Enterline said.
After that firefighter was accounted for, other responding firefighters were also briefly called out of the residence.
“After we had one person that we had to rescue off that ladder, we wanted to bring everybody out,” Enterline said. “The number one goal at that point was to make sure all of our people were safe ... before we went back in the building."
Crews could be seen breaking out windows as smoke and flames billowed out from windows. The fire was well into the walls and spread quickly through the second and third floors, Enterline said. Though it was a chilly day outside, the brick construction of the house made conditions extremely hot for firefighters inside the residence.
A cat and dog were rescued from the residence, and no other injuries were reported. Four people are displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. Enterline wasn’t sure on the extent of damages, but he said the building was fixable
Thursday’s fire is one of several reported across central Pennsylvania in the last week.
“When we look at fires, you go through these dry spells, and then when they start to happen, it seems like they happen back to back to back,” he said. “There’s really no rhyme or reason to it.”
Enterline added that his department also goes to fires on a weekly basis, but they are often extinguished quickly.
©2020 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)