Incident Detail: 1985 Call No. 18

Call No.  18
Time Out
Time In
 Accident w/Fatalities 
 Rt 209 in Big Run 

November 9, 1985Return to Call List

An early Saturday morning crash in Big Run (Washington Township) killed three Tower City residents. The accident occurred on Saturday, November 9, 1985, around 1:45 AM on Route-209 west of Lykens. The 1974 Ford Torino was traveling west on Route-209 at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle, which slid for 254 feet along the roadway's north berm, struck a PP&L pole, slid another 114 feet, struck a second pole, traveled for 135 more feet, hit a third utility pole, and came to rest on its roof where it burst into flames. Company-22 (Lykens) and Company-21 (Elizabethville) responded to the scene. All three occupants of the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene.

Elizabethville's Tom Welker recalls:
It was Elizabethville's third call in a row that night. Our first call was directly below my house on Main Street, where a DUI driver had hit a couple of parked cars and a porch. While there, we were dispatched to a working fire in Powells Valley at the east end of the Back Road. I was in the officers seat of our old rescue that night and while going down the Fisherville side of Eville Mountain, County asked if we could split for an accident. I instructed the driver to pull into the Mountain House parking lot and we let our tanker go past. As we turned around to go back toward town, County began advising that the vehicle was on fire. One of our crew members, who lived in Loyalton, arrived on scene soon after and radioed back to his wife on the CB radio that we had a working fire that looked close to a house. In the meantime I had the rescue stop at our station (it was still on Market Street) and I hopped out to get our 64 Hahn. While enroute with it and receiving all this additional information, I called for company 22 and 26 engines to respond. When I arrived on scene with the Hahn, another guy took over the pump panel and we knocked the fire down pretty quickly. As I looked up the road I could not believe it. There were three or four poles down and wires everywhere. It looked like a bomb went off. I forget how fast the estimated speed was but they flipped the car end for end several hundred feet before coming to rest. When the 22 engine arrived, they hand stretched a backup line 400 feet. It was my first major incident ever as an Assistant Chief and one to remember always.

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