First West Chester Fire Company

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Winter Storm Causes Fires in the Borough
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By Captain Justin McClure
March 2, 2018

On March 2, at 20:09, Station 51 was dispatched for a lamp post on fire in front of 10 S Church Street. The caller reported a lamp post on fire with black some on the street. Engine 51-1 arrived and 2 minutes later requested a building response due to an underground transformer fire. A priority 1 PECO response was requested.

Engine 51-2 and Assistant 51 arrived and staged in the 100 Block of W Market Street. Crews encountered high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in several buildings on W Market and S Church Streets. As West Chester crews arrived, they began to evacuate occupants of the affected buildings. Chief 52 arrived and established Command. Evidence of an underground electrical fire was noted as smoke and an odor of burning electric was emanating from multiple points in the street. This included electrical service covers and conduits.

Just prior to 20:51, smoke begin to show from the front door of 110 W Market Street where a fire was then located in the basement. Crews stretched multiple hand lines to extinguish the fire, open up, and check for extension. Overhaul was hampered by the energized electric service to the building and pockets of fire along the foundation wall.

Smoke then began to show from the basement of 108 W Market Street and a recon team was sent to investigate. Crews on the exterior reported visible fire from the sidewalk entrance. A sprinkler activation was noted and crews stretched a hand line down the exterior basement steps, encountered fire in the ceiling area, and began suppression efforts. A second line was stretched to the rear apartment and the walls were opened up and checked for extension.

PECO Electric arrived on location and secured power to a large section of the Borough. Overhaul was completed in both buildings and the Chester County Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the scene for the investigation.

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