Just before midnight on Sunday, November 19, West Grove Fire Company members were dispatched for a building fire in Kelton, Penn Township. The resulting blaze destroyed multiple mushroom houses and kept firefighters busy most of the night.
The original dispatch called for West Grove full company, along with an engine and ladder from Oxford, an engine from Avondale, and a rapid intervention team (RIT) from Cochranville. On response, both WGFC's Fire Chief and Deputy Chief were advise of a third party call reporting smoke. Deputy Chief Gattorno arrived quickly and reported fire and smoke showing on the east side of a series of mushroom houses. Chief Chambers arrived and established command.
West Grove Engine 22-2 was first to arrive, laying a supply line from a hydrant at the end of the drive back to the east side of the structure, and deploying an 1-3/4" attack line. Ladder 22 arrived up the drive way and established its aerial ladder over the structure, which now had significant fire along the roof line. Ladder 22's crew joined with Engine 22-2 and deployed additional hand lines to the north and west sides of the building. Ladder 22 also established a water supply back from Engine 22-2 and prepared to deploy its aerial master stream, as crews attempted to knock down fire in a work area on the east side, and from doorways on the west side.
Engine 22-1 arrived at the end of the lane. Originally the hydrant was opened to supply Engine 22-2, and then Engine 22-1 was added to the supply, operating from the hydrant to boost pressure. Tanker 21 arrived, along with Tanker 22, Tanker 23-2 from Avondale and an Engine from Oxford. Given the high flow of water from the ladder pipe, an additional water supply was established on the east side of the fire ground.
Crews operated from hand lines and the master stream for some time, with the fire ultimately called under control about two hours into the incident. There was a period of about an hour of continuing overhaul and dousing hot spots as all firefighting was ultimately from the exterior of the structure -- with the lower levels of the mushroom houses filled with water, and roof having mostly collapsed. Fire police maintained closed roadways around the scene, and ambulance crews handled rehab and supplied water to firefighters. Cochranville's RIT team was on standby at the scene.
Extensive cleanup was required from hundreds of feet of dirtied hand lines and supply lines, both at the scene and also at Station 22 and 122 after the call. An engine and tanker crew from WGFC were also used to douse additional hot spots in the collapsed areas of the structure, with final crews completing work at nearly 430am.
The fire is under investigation by the Chester County Fire Marshal's office. There were no injuries.