Firefighters rescued an elderly couple from a two-alarm fire on Thursday afternoon in Harborcreek Township, all while braving the bitter cold. Those firefighters now have a message for homeowners.
Just before 3:00 p.m. Thursday, nearly a dozen fire companies were called to the 7300 block of Belle Road for what began as a garage fire, but quickly spread. The house sits about 200 yards off of the road. However, firefighters could see the thick, black smoke billowing from miles away.
“When we got here, we had two occupants trapped on the back porch. They couldn’t get out because of the snow. It was an elderly couple. The garage was on fire and it was working its way into the vestibule into the house,” said Charles Ramsey, Harborcreek Fire Chief.
The first firefighters on scene were able to rescue the couple just moments before a flashover led to all firefighters being ordered out of the home.
“So, basically, everything in that space catches on fire all at once and you see a whole lot of fire coming out and temperatures get extremely hot. We had individuals get steam burned when that happened,” Ramsey said.
Firefighters also contended with the bitter cold and snow.
“The temperatures takes a toll on us as firefighters,” Ramsey said. “As you can see, I’m frozen.”
Perhaps the most frustrating challenge for firefighters was having to dig out the fire hydrant.
“Seconds count when it comes to stuff like this. We had a fire with entrapment and here we are digging out the hydrant trying to make sure that we have water beyond what we have in our tanks,” Ramsey said.
Firefighters continue to urge you to make sure that the nearest fire hydrant to your home is dug out and three feet all around any time that it snows.
“Every second counts. So, if I don’t have to dig out a hydrant, that’s another one or two minutes it might be,” Ramsey said.
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Firefighters are still trying to determine how that fire started. The State Police Fire Marshal has been called to assist with the investigation.