A large tree fell across Avondale-New London Road this morning in London Grove Township -- the result was a tangled mess of downed and burning power lines, a power outage, and a dangerous situation at a residence in the vicinity.
West Grove Fire Company volunteers and staff had responded to an ATV accident in New London Township early Saturday morning that injured a man, when they were alerted to a second call for burning wires in London Grove Township. Engine 22-1 responded to the wires call, reported on Avondale-New London Road west of Chambers Road.
Engine 22-1 arrived on the scene of a large tree across the road with many wires down and burning. PECO was notified to come to the scene. While on that call, the Chester County 911 Center received a call for an outbuilding on fire nearby and inquired if the Engine could investigate. That call appeared to be on the other side of the downed tree, and with reports that the shed was attached to a residence and the Engine was on the opposite side of the downed tree. Fire Radio dispatched a house fire assignment -- adding units from Oxford, Cochranville, and Avondale.
Rescue 22 went responding from the ATV accident in New London, with Ladder 22 making the response along with Tanker 22 and Engine 22-3. Due to the downed and charged powerlines stretching a long distance along Avondale - New London Road, there were challenges ascertaining the residence location and how to access it due to the electrical hazard. Tanker 22 arrived on the scene from the east side from Route 841 and reported a long driveway which could not be accessed due to low hanging electrical wires (from the previous incident). Engine 22-3 arrived as well.
Upon further examination, there were charged power lines at the entrance of the drive and units were kept back for safety reasons. Crews managed to walk up to the house and determined that a water pipe and areas around the electrical meter at the house were electrically charged, and began to build a plan of action once PECO could arrive and safely shut off the power at the street.
Meanwhile, units from Avondale, Oxford and Cochranville were staged closer to Route 841. PECO arrived and secured the power at various power poles. WGFC crews then stretched more than 400 feet of 3" supply line up to the residence -- this so-called leader line is carried on the rear of Engine 22-3 for this purpose. A Y-valve on the end of the leader line allows for crews to then supply two 1-3/4" attack lines -- which were hand-carried up to the scene by fire fighters. These pre-packaged attack lines with nozzles are also carried on WGFC Engines for just this kind of call where hoses are needed some distance from the fire engine.
With the power safely out, crews thoroughly examined the home and outbuilding to determine if there were any burning materials, using thermal imaging cameras that detect heat. Crews determined the scene safe and the situation under control in about 45 minutes - and crews began picking up nearly 600 feet of hose and repacking the hose onto Engine 22-3.
Avondale - New London Road remained closed all day Saturday as the tree was removed, and PECO and other utilities worked to repair the power lines and poles.