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9 Rescued or Self-Rescued from 3 Alarm Fire in Coudersport

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April 05, 2023 | PENNSYLVANIA BRYAN PHELPS, Correspondent
This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

COUDERSPORT, PA - On April 5th at 6:38 A.M., McKean 3 RIT was dispatched to Box 48-76 at 133 N Main St., Hotel Critenden, for a reported structure Fire.

At 6:39 A.M., Chief 48 Phelps responded and was immediately given updated information of 911 receiving numerous calls of heavy fire and smoke visible. Chief 48 was already on Main Street and could see the large column of smoke that had already filled the streets and immediately requested a second-alarm assignment.

At 6:40 A.M., Chief 48 Phelps arrived on scene confirming a working fire on the third floor corner A/D with heavy smoke pushing out the eaves of the whole building and established command. Chief 48 then entered the front of the building to division 3 and was unable to go beyond the stairs between floors 2/3 due to heavy smoke and fire. Chief 48 then began banging on and forcing doors to wake the occupants (fire alarms were already sounding), and evacuated six safely from the second floor. By the time all occupants of the second floor were evacuated the stairs back to the first floor were difficult to see/locate from the smoke and fire that had made its way down the stairwell.

At 6:44 A.M., AC Brad Tucker Roulette Chemical Engine #1 46 had arrived and met Chief 48 in the street and was assigned side C (back). Once AC Tucker got to the back he reported to command that he had several injured victims with people still on the second story roof and fire escape. At this point Command requested three additional aerial trucks (Emporium, Genesee and Wellsville) to the scene due to the growing fire and due to the fact crews had not gained access to the 3 floor. Engine 48-1 had arrived and crews secured their own water supply and went to work to get to the third floor to locate the fire. While crews were stretching attack lines Engine 48-1 utilized their deck gun to get large volumes of water on the fire. 

At 6:56 A.M., interior crews reported that they had located the fire and had water on it, needing additional firefighters. Truck 48-9 arrived and set up and vented horizontally the third floor, then immediately went to the roof where crews split with some going interior to assist the Engine crew. Station 46 - Roulette secured their own water supply in side C and immediately began assisting the injured and stretching lines to the fire from that side.

At 7:05 A.M., Port Allegany 3 arrived and was assigned search responsibilities of division 2 (command was uncertain if all had escaped).

At 7:06 A.M., Ambulance 46 transported two patients to UPMC - Cole. Crews on scene were hard at work with patient care, rescue and fire suppression before all second-alarm companies had arrived. At 7:19 A.M., Command requested a third-alarm. In the next hour-and-a-half, fire and ambulance crews worked hard and transported a total of five patients, with one of them being transferred to a surgical unit in Williamsport.

At 8:37 A.M., Command reported that the fire was under control with heavy overhaul needed and in progress. At 12:41 P.M., Command reported the fire and all operations complete and terminated command, returning all units.

In all, nine individuals were either rescued or self-rescued to safety. Five were transported to the local hospital (one transferred on), and four refused treatment. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening. In all, 34 members from our department and approximately 110 from other departments were on scene. There were no injuries to any first responders during this incident.

The building was occupied by four businesses (Hotel Crittenden, Jeff’s Barber Shop, Potter County Democratic Office and Maureen Cracknell’s Studio), that were affected either by fire, smoke or water damage.

An investigation into the fire by our department and the PSP fire marshals unit determined that the fire began on the third floor and is undetermined at this time, but still under investigation.

A huge thank you to the following agencies that assisted on scene: 49 Coudersport Amb/Medics, 44 Austin, 46 Roulette, 10 Galeton, 3 Port Allegany, MA3 Amb/Medics, 39 Shinglehouse, 47 Ulysses, 20 Harrison Twp., 37 Genesee, 5 Westfield, 14 Emporium, 2 Smethport, 15 Bradford Twp., Drone 50, Red Cross, PEMA, Coudersport Boro (Police, Public Works and Water Authority), PSP Coudersport, PSP Fire Marshals Unit, Potter Co DES, UGI, West Penn Power and Tioga Co 911 and dispatchers for meeting all of our needs.

The following businesses and individuals provided food/refreshments during and after the incident: Cream 'n Sugar, Mama Made, Vinny's Bar and Grill, Coudersport Fox's Pizza Den, Jake Wilson Enterprises, Kaytee's Family Restaurant and Marketplace, Subway Of Coudersport Inc., Wagner Ace Hardware, Sheetz, Sweden Valley Methodist Church, Coudersport Shop n Save, Moore Nutrition, Hershey Farms Market, Steve Green, Todd Brown - Ultimate Power, Mr and Mrs John Leete, C&N Bank and Kerry Ehrensburger.

We thank each and every one of you that supported us during this incident.


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BRYAN PHELPSCorrespondent

No information from the author.