Fast-moving fire extensively damages Paxford Road dwelling
Western Salisbury Fire Department Chief Joshua Wells praised three members of the Salisbury Township’s public works department fire brigade for their swift response to a dwelling fire at 1810 Paxford Road, in the eastern portion of the township, around 11:30 a.m. July 17.
The township workers – Darrell Singles, Clint Ballek and Richard DeFiore, all highly experienced volunteer fire service officers, were able to leave their township duties, drive to Eastern Salisbury Fire Department’s Emmaus Avenue station, get an engine to the scene and get water flowing onto the fire, which already had a big head start, and was through the roof when they arrived.
“That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work,” Wells said of the brigade’s response. The township fire brigade was formed several years ago to help supplement firefighter response that is traditionally lighter during the day when volunteer firefighters are at their own workplaces.
Wells, and an engine from Western Salisbury Fire Department, arrived on scene from the western portion of the township and Wells, as the first officer at the fire, assumed incident command.
With flames through the roof as he arrived, Wells called for a second alarm which, along with calls for additional manpower, brought units from Emmaus, Fountain Hill, Upper Saucon, Lower Macungie and Upper Macungie and rapid intervention teams from Alburtis and Greenawalds stations. RIT crews have fire ground responsibilities limited to firefighter rescue should a firefighter get into a precarious situation.
A turning point in the fire came when Fountain Hill firefighter David Boehrer was able to maneuver the fire department’s aerial ladder under utility lines and use the deluge nozzle atop the ladder to attack the fire consuming the home’s roof.
Units from Allentown City were also on scene to support the operation.
Demand was heavy for manpower at the scene as the hot weather took a toll on firefighters in their heavy protective gear and crews had to be rotated to provide relief.
EMS units from St. Luke’s University Health Network, Cetronia Ambulance and Macungie Ambulance Corps set up rehab tents to provide hydration for firefighters and to check the vital signs of distressed firefighters.
Salisbury police officers were on scene and helped deploy hoses. Acting Police Chief Kevin Soberick worked a deck gun on the Eastern Salisbury Fire Department engine until it became inoperable.
A crew from Woodlawn Station used the county air cascade system to replenish breathing tanks for the firefighters.
Eastern Salisbury fire police secured the area for emergency vehicles.
The owner of the home was listed as Joseph Holoman. No cause for the fire was determined and Wells said an investigation would follow.