Pennsylvania News

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Centre County fire station damaged after vehicle crash into building

PHOTOS: A driver who crashed Monday into Howard Fire Company’s station was treated for minor injuries, the organization wrote Wednesday in a Facebook post. The collision damaged two garage doors, a wall and two emergency vehicles, the department wrote. One vehicle was towed from the building, and one of the garage doors was repaired. The crash prevented the company from effectively responding to a call for service, though Walker Township and Beech Creek-Blanchard fire companies were able to fill the void. Additional repairs to the building — which has a temporary wood wall — and emergency vehicle are expected in “the coming weeks and months,” the department wrote.
Centre Valley Times

5 families forced out of Penn Hills apartment building by fire

A fire forced five families from an apartment building in Penn Hills early Thursday morning, officials said. Flames were reported about 1:30 a.m. at the building on Penn Pleasant Drive. When firefighters arrived, they found the fire burning in a kitchen of a basement apartment. “A tremendous amount of smoke damage. A lot of electrical damage and a kitchen that was on fire in one apartment,” Penn Hills Fire Chief John Capone said. One person was checked by paramedics at the scene for smoke inhalation, officials said. In all, more than a dozen people and about five pets have been displaced. The Red Cross said it is assisting 14 adults and four children. A fire marshal is investigating what started the fire.
WPXI-TV NBC 11 Pittsburgh

Suprise parade held for fire chief in Luzerne County

A local fishing group and fire company joined forces to show a fire chief that they are all rooting for him. Fire Chief Frank Slymock is recovering from a stroke at Heinz Rehab Hospital. Visitors aren't allowed so members of the Suskie Bass Masters and the Edwardsville Fire Company paraded by the facility to surprise their friend. They said it's their way to show they support him and can't wait to see him again. "The guys asked me last week when I was down there if they think they could come up and I said yeah I could give them a hand and see what I could do and they came up to surprise him and make him feel better, said Ann Marie Slymock, sister of Frank. The chief's dog also made a special appearance at the parade.
WNEP-TV ABC 16 Scranton

Cumru commissioners see planned fire station virtually

The Cumru Township commissioners on Tuesday took a high-tech, virtual tour of the planned fire station that will be built across Welsh Road from the township's administration building. The 27-minute CAD presentation was prepared by Manns-Woodward Architects of Baltimore and was narrated by township fire Chief James Beane. The presentation showed all interior rooms and exterior walls and parking lots, but it did not show any fits and finishes for the interior. No costs or changes were discussed. Beane pointed out that the approximately 25,000-square-foot building has 10 bays to park fire apparatus and emergency vehicles.
WFMZ-TV 69 Allentown

Noxen Volunteer Fire Company Cancels Rattlesnake Roundup

The popular Noxen Volunteer Fire Company Rattlesnake Roundup has been added to the list of events that have been canceled this year due to COVID-19. “It’s not something we took lightly. We had postponed, hoping to still get it in in late July. It’s just not in the cards,” Chief Lew Hackling of the Noxen Volunteer Fire Company, said. The competition is usually held in June. Hackling says they were able to follow COVID-19 population restrictions because the event took place on under 20 acres of space. It was canceled to help stop the spread of the virus, especially with the uptick of COVID-19 cases. “First and foremost is the health and welfare of not only the attendees but the volunteers. We have a couple hundred volunteers that come out just for the weekend,” Hackling said.
WBRE-TV NBC 28 Wilkes-Barre

Related: With carnivals canceled, fire companies in Perry County mull creative fundraising campaigns

Perry County’s biggest carnival of the year was canceled because of Covid-19. Now, the New Bloomfield Fire Company is finding new ways to fundraise. Fundraising accounts for 45% of the budget, a large chunk of which comes from the annual fireman’s carnival, typically around $40,000. “I believe everybody’s in the same boat. Everybody that I know of in Perry County has canceled their fireman’s carnival,” said New Bloomfield Fire Chief Mitch Robb. Robb says many fire companies are resorting to drive-by food pickups. “We’re going to have teams coming out to the cars, taking orders and coming into the station, getting the food and bringing it back to the car,” Robb said. It won’t come close to the money that could have been raised at the carnival, but Robb says the community has been very supportive. “In fact, we’re getting in donations right now that people have sent, that they would have spent at the carnival.”
WHTM-TV ABC 27 Harrisburg

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Cumberland County: Area firefighters honor fallen Chief Greg Bretzman

Many fire and EMS companies attended the funeral service for Gregory A. Bretzman, former Firefighter and Fire Chief of The Mount Holly Springs Fire Co. and former Fire Chief of Dickinson Township, Saturday. Hundreds walked through the gymnasium area of the St. Patrick Church in Carlisle to pay their respects to the members of the Bretzman Family, which has a long history of volunteer fire service. Bretzman gained his firefighter angel wings on Tuesday, June 23, after a five-year battle with cancer, at age 58. Fellow Cumberland County firefighter Stanley Andrew Horn wrote on Facebook, “Today I laid my brother to rest. One of the finest men to ever become a Fire Chief in Cumberland County. Greg Bretzman, you gave your life in dedication to the fire service of the county, not only as a chief, but a leader in training of younger firefighters of our future. My brother, take your place in Heaven’s Station for those you have led and trained have it from here on.”
Shippensburg News-Chronicle & Valley Times Star - Metered Site

Swarthmore paramedic dies from coronavirus complications

Delaware County first responders are mourning the loss of one of their own, another local fatality of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Monday, the Swarthmore Fire & Protective Association announced the death of life member William “Brad” Blackman, 56, from complications of COVID-19, likely contracted from his work as a paramedic. During his 37 years as a firefighter-EMT at Swarthmore, Blackman held numerous ranks including ambulance captain. Blackman was instrumental in the company’s initial purchase of an ambulance and development of its EMS program. Blackman worked at a number of ambulance and paramedic units across the county, including at Crozer-Chester Medical Center and Riddle Hospital. His most recent posting was with American Medical Response, where he recently received a commendation for helping save a man’s life.
Delaware County Daily Times

FEMA grant funds protective gear for firefighters, ambulance crews in Westmoreland County

Eighteen fire departments and emergency medical service organizations in Westmoreland County will receive personal protective equipment through funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. All told, the FEMA grant or nearly $875,000, coordinated by the Nanty Glo Fire Department in Cambria County, will provide protective gear to 67 first-response agencies in 14 counties in Central and Western Pennsylvania. With the rise in demand during the covid-19 pandemic, prices have nearly doubled for some of the protective equipment, which is needed to safely treat and transport emergency victims who might be infected with the coronavirus. The program will pair the FEMA grant, announced Tuesday, with local matching funds to buy thousands of N-95 and surgical masks, face shields, foot covers, medical gowns, hazardous materials coveralls and nitrile examination gloves.
Trib Live

Harrisburg firefighters save church from total destruction

A church in Harrisburg is still standing after a fire started in its basement on Tuesday. The blaze started around 6:40 p.m. at St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church at the corner of 17th and State streets. Firefighters said they had to face challenges like wide open spaces, thick walls and ceilings and even had to cut out some of the pews to get to the fire. Back-up crews were called to help battle the fire due to the heat and humidity. Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline said firefighters’ quick arrival and the aid from neighboring departments made all the difference. “Typically, when you see a church on fire — anywhere — it ends up being a significant event. Because of the work these guys did here tonight, it saved the church. They will be able to repair it,” Chief Enterline said.
WHTM-TV ABC 27 Harrisburg

Firefighters battle brush fire on Neversink Mountain

Firefighters have gotten control of a brush fire on Neversink Mountain. The fire was reported shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday in the area of Klapperthal Junction in Cumru Township. Officials said they later determined that the fire was actually burning on land in Lower Alsace Township. Several brush units were called to assist. Some of the firefighters accessed the scene from the trail off South Ninth Street on Reading's side of the mountain; others got there from the Forest Hills cemetery in Exeter Township. For a time, smoke was visible from Interstate 176, which meets the West Shore Bypass at the base of the mountain.
WFMZ-TV 69 Allentown

Lehigh County: Driver dies after truck crashes off I-78 bridge onto roof, authorities say

A 32-year-old Allentown man died early Tuesday after the tractor-trailer truck he was driving crashed off an Interstate 78 bridge in Lehigh County, flipped and landed on its roof below next to New Smithville Road, authorities report. Eddy Joel Surinach was pronounced dead about an hour after the 3:24 a.m. wreck in Weisenberg Township, the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office said. An autopsy determined Surinach died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries and his death was ruled an accident, the coroner’s office said. The bobtail Freightliner was heading west, Pennsylvania State Police said, and the crash happened at mile-marker 44.2. Troopers and the coroner’s office were assisted by the township fire department, Upper Macungie Township firefighters, Cetronia Ambulance Corps and Yocum Towing, police said.
Lehigh Valley News-Express Times

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