10/18/14 | 03:00 | CITY OF READING | PA | 4TH ALARM | 8TH AND OLEY STREETS | 6-STORY FACTORY | FIRE ON ALL FLOORS | MULTIPLE LADDER PIPES IN SERVICE
1 KILLED IN HISTORIC HOTEL FIRE, 6 OTHERS INJURED
October 09, 2011 at 5:17pm
Whitehall, PA - The box was transmitted at 0734 hours for a structural fire with people trapped at the Blue Fox Hotel and Bar located at 5834 Coplay Road. Engines 5, 4, 14, Ladder 6, Rescue 8 under the command of Chief Benner (16) respond.
Assistant Chief Kunkle (4A) arrives and finds smoke pushing from the 3rd floor of the 3-story structure. A restaurant / bar is located on the 1st floor with rooms on the upper floors. Kunkle finds a man, who fell down a flight of stairs, laying at the bottom and removes his unconscious body to the porch where EMS crews from Cetronia begin working on him. Paramedics rush him to an awaiting ambulance, where he then goes into cardiac arrest. Kunkle special-calls Squrt 3 from the Hokendauqua station.
Police were already on-scene assisting the residents out of the building and throwing ground ladders to the 1-story roof in the rear where people were jumping onto the roof. One person on the roof was injured and needed to be rescued with the tower ladder.
Rescue Engine 5 arrives and goes to the second-floor for a search, taking with them a 1 3/4" hand line. The primary search of the second-floor comes up negative and the crews find no fire. They pull the ceilings down and find heavy smoke. Engine 4 arrives and backs up engine 5.
Another crew enters the first-floor and find a fire in the kitchen to the rear of the bar. A second hand line is stretched to the third floor along with the first hand line via an interior stairwell. Crews start attacking the fire, but the two hand lines were no match for the fire.
Outside, Tower 6 arrives and immediately goes into service to the rear to remove the victim on the one-story roof. His injuries appeared to be minor, with leg and back pain.
The fire appears to had a good start before the firefighters arrived. and with the old construction, extended through the walls and voids that were made during renovations of the old hotel.
Northampton Ladder 42 was special-called to work the Alpha Delta corner, while two engines from North Catasauqua were in-service on the Charlie (west) side with master streams.
About an hour and a half into the call, fire started venting from the building. Within 4 hours, the building was a total loss.
A tanker task force was called to assist in supplying tower ladder 6, as the pressure from the hydrants were severely strained from being on the same main.
Overall, companies from two counties assisted in battling this blaze. 1 person was killed, 6 civilians transported to area hospitals along with 2 firefighters. The fire was brought under control about 4 hours later.
Check out 139 photos in the Blue Fox Hotel photo gallery here.
The video below is the from a helmet cam on Truck 6 provided by Mike Nester:
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