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On This Day (December 24th)
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Incidents for which we were dispatched (see Note 1)Hide

1900
Fire, Eagle Iron Works
Detail >>
Fire alarm sounded at 11:15 PM on December 24, 1900. The company responded to the scene of the fire, which was at the Eagle Iron Works. The cause of the fire was a spark from the [??]. Damage was $30.
1908
Fire, John Buffington property
Detail >>
Fire alarm sounded at 5:20 PM. Fire broke out at the house of John Buffington on Main Street. Members responded with both carts but did not attach hose to the plug.
1982
Chimney Fire, 248 North Second Street (Box 22-)
Detail >>
Engine 22, Engine 23, Squad 23, and Ambulance 22 were dispatched to a chimney fire at 248 North Second Street, a double house on the southwest corner of Edward and North Second Streets. It was a very cold day as the crews arrived and laddered the building. It was found that the chimney had partially blocked, causing a small amount of smoke and dirt to enter the basement. A crew in the basement removed the pipe from the coal furnace, and the chimney was cleaned by running chains from the roof. After re-assembling the pipe, all units went available.
1984
Structure Fire, 428 Main Street (Box 22-1)
Detail >>
Companies 22 and 23 dispatched for a report of a structure fire at 428 Main Street in Lykens. Engine-22 responded with a crew of seven, and arrived on scene to find a 2?-story structure with heavy smoke coming from the front of the house. Flames were visible through the first floor windows. Engine and Squad 23 arrived shortly after Engine-22 and set up on side 4. Assistance from companies 24 (Williamstown) and 21 (Elizabethville) were requested. Initial attack was through the front door, where the first in team encountered heavy fire with the floor burned away, and they were forced to retreat. Other members began venting the structure, a second attempt to gain entry was made, and the fire was knocked down. Extensive overhaul was needed, and fire damage was throughout entire structure. A dog perished in the fire. The cause was determined to be an electrical extension cord plugged into an outlet in the living room, and run underneath the carpet to an opposite wall where it was used to plug in to a Christmas tree. The occupants were at church at time of the call.
1989
Structure Fire, 2501 Powells Valley (Box 19-1)
Detail >>
Companies 29 (Powells Valley), 25 (Halifax), 216 (Fisherville), 21 (Elizabethville), and 22 (Lykens) assisted Company 19 (Carsonville) at a house fire at 2501 Powells Valley Road. It was a working fire involving multiple floors. After the fire was out, icicles were hanging from the stairs between the first and second floors due to the use of the new technique of positive pressure ventilation, which brought the cold December air in from the outside.
1989
Structure Fire, 634 South St (Box 22-4)
Detail >>
For the second time in five years, Company-22 experienced a Christmas Eve fire caused by a faulty electrical extension cord used for lighting a Christmas tree. Companies 22 and 23 were dispatched to 634 South Street in Lykens for a reported structure fire. Engine-22 responded with a crew of seven and observed heavy smoke over town when leaving the station. The engine arrived on scene to find a two-story wood frame structure with heavy fire blowing out the front door and windows, extending over the front porch roof, and reaching the second floor. Fire was also present at several side windows on side-4. Additional assistance was requested, and companies 21 (Elizabethville) and 24 (Williamstown) were dispatched. Later, Company-66 (Sheridan, West End, Schuylkill County) was relocated to Station-22. Engine and Squad 23 responded and arrived on side-3 of the structure. Crews made entry through a side patio and advanced to the front of the structure, knocking down the bulk of fire. Extensive overhaul was needed, with fire damage throughout the first floor and heat and smoke damage to second floor. Side-2 of the structure had a detached beauty shop with a dividing wall, and the shop contained numerous chemicals and hair solutions. Fire never reached that location. Crews remained on scene for an extended time extinguishing hot spots. The cause was determined to be an extension cord used to light a Christmas tree. Tom Welker, of Company-21 from Elizabethville, remembers the following: "Fire was showing on two floors of a rather large home. Rescue-21 pulled into the neighbors yard and the crew packed and headed to the fire while Engine-21 laid a backup water supply from the hydrant at the first bridge. After helping the Lykens and Wiconisco crews on the fire, we placed members with stortz wrenchs at every coupling of the 5-inch hose - ready to break it quickly. We got about half the couplings broken, but the rest froze. We carried buckets of water from nearby homes to pour over the couplings to be able to break them. When Chief-21, Galen Lentz, tried to climb back into the 82 Hahn (Engine-21) to return to station, he had to be pushed in as his pants were frozen too hard to be able to bend at the knee. The temperature that night was about -10?F or colder. A major thaw out was required when we returned to station."
2015
Commercial Structure Fire, 700 West Broad Street (Box 24-5)
Detail >>
Companies 24, 23, 22, 21, Schuylkill 647, 66, 650 and 24 EMS dispatched class one to 700 West Broad Street in Williamstown to the old Amp Building, now Zemco, for a commercial structure fire. Chief 24 arrived on scene reporting smoke from the building on side B. Truck 22 responded with 6 and Engine 22 with 4. On arrival, the Truck went to the roof while the Engine crew assisted with throwing ladders. Interior crews found a smoking heater unit near the ceiling, that when they shut it down the smoke stopped. Crews assisted on scene until released by command.
2018
AFA, 442 S. 2nd Street (Box 22-1)
Detail >>
Company 22 dispatched class three to 442 South Second Street in Lykens for an alarm sounding. Chief 22 responded to the scene POV and Engine 22 went enroute with 5 and Utility 22 with 3. On arrival of the Chief he advised of a smoke alarm sounding. Engine and Utility 22 arrived on side A and began investigating the property, a 2 story single family wood frame dwelling that was vacant. Command contacted the real estate management company in charge of the address and secured access to the building. An interior investigation found a smoke alarm with a bad battery in the second floor B side bedroom. Command placed the company available.
Other Local Incidents (see Note 2)Hide


1892
J J Buffington Sadler Shop Fire - Gratz, PA

1953
Grass Fires - Millersburg, PA
Detail >>
Millersburg Fireman were called to put out grass fire's which were endangering buildings along the railroad tracks between Pine and North Street.
Other Noteworthy Incidents/Events (see Note 3)Hide


1849
Great fire at San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

1851
Library of Congress Fire - Washington DC
Detail >>
A fire in the Library of Congress on December 24, 1851, destroyed two-thirds of the cumulated holdings - some 35,000 volumes, including a substantial portion of the Jefferson library.
1911
Globe Clothing Store Fire - Harrisburg, PA
Detail >>
The Globe Clothing Store at 222 Market Street, Harrisburg caught fire on December 24, 1911. What started as a basement fire around 11:30 p.m. quickly engulfed all four floors, despite the efforts of the fire comapnies. At an hour into the fire, the roof collapsed. It was 1:40 a.m. when the fire was under control and it was daylight before all fire companies left the scene. The loss to Globe was around $125,000. The surrounding buildings of Kresge's Five and Dime, Pomeroy, and Steward had smoke and water damage. Five firemen were injured fighting this fire.
1924
Babbs Switch School Fire - Hobart, OK
Detail >>
In Hobart, Oklahoma on December 24, 1924, the Babbs Switch School was performing its annual Christmas songfest. On stage, a candle fell into the branches of a Christmas tree causing it to burst into flames. The one-room schoolhouse caught fire, and 36 people died, mostly small children.
1953
Freak Train Accident - Waiouri, North Island, New Zealand
Detail >>
A highly unusual chain of events caused an improbable disaster which left 151 people dead in New Zealand on December 24, 1953. A lake and a glacier laid at the top of Mount Ruapehu, a 9,000 foot volcano. A minor eruption of the volcano sent the lake waters surging down the mountain. The water slammed into the Tangiwai Railroad Bridge. The bridge was weakened so that when the Wellington to Auckland express train came to it, it gave way, sending six of the nine cars plunging into the flood water. They sank almost immediately. Out of the 285 passengers on board, 151 died, and many of the bodies were never recovered. Some of the train cars were later found many miles downstream from the bridge. It is estimated that millions of gallons of water had been released from the lake due to the eruption. However, other than that done to the railroad bridge, there was no other damage. The water simply flowed into the Whangaehu River and out to sea.
1968
Latshaw Lumber Fire - Susquehanna Twp, Dauphin Co, PA
Detail >>
The Earl Latsha Lumber Company yard and mill, at 2300 Linglestown Road in Susquehanna Township, was destroyed by fire on December 24, 1968 at 10:35 p.m. In the cold temperature, firefighters had to deal with 30 mph wind driven flames and heat. Afterwards, it was a couple days before all the hose could be retrieved from their location on the scene, where it was frozen in ice.

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Notes

1.The section of calls we've responded to has been compiled from fire company records, newspapers, and other sources. Listings for years prior to 1981 might be incomplete.
2.The listing of local incidents is for incidents that happened around our local area, including some from Lykens for which the fire company was not dispatched. It is certainly not a complete listing, and is not intended to be. It is included here for your entertainment. Incidents listed here have been gathered from public sources.
3.The listing of other noteworthy incidents includes incidents from anywhere outside our local area (for which we were not dispatched). Also included in this section are historical events from our fire company, Lykens, or around the world. It is certainly not a complete listing, and is not intended to be. It is included here for your entertainment. Incidents and events listed here have been gathered from public sources.
4.These lists can be filtered. Use the control section above to activate or de-activate filtering. Filtering will not affect the list of incidents we've responded to. But, it will be applied to both the other lists.

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