The Abington Township Board of Commissioners recognized fire companies and individuals from the Abington Township Fire Department on November 10 for the vital services they provided during a structure fire in Glenside and during Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
Prior to the presentation of the awards, Fire Marshal Kenneth Clark told the commissioners that during the weekend of Hurricane Irene, firefighters responded to 144 emergency calls. Eighty volunteers provided 1,702 service hours responding to water rescues, building fires, downed trees, PECO electric and gas issues, and flooding. With less than a week of rest, ATFD firefighters were again pressed into service on Sept. 8th due to heavy rains that caused flooding. Sixty-two firefighters responded to 38 calls in a nine-hour period.
Commissioners' President Carol DiJoseph presented representatives from the ATFD's five fire companies with commendations for service and thanked each for their work during the storms.
Following this presentation, President DiJoseph also honored the five fire companies and individuals from those companies for their bravery in fighting an apartment fire at 280 Keswick Avenue on Feb. 5th. Five individuals were singled out for their efforts: Weldon Fire Company's Assistant Engineer Christopher Strange, Firefighter Chris Younger and Lt. Jon Gerhard, as well as Edge Hill Fire Company's Deputy Chief Chris Olimpo and Lt. Phil Juel.
Assistant Engineer Strange, Firefighter Chris Younger and Lt. Gehard were among the first to arrive at the building and make their way through heavy smoke to the third floor. Once they arrived on the third floor and located the fire in the living room of the apartment, Firefighter Younger began extinguishing the flames. Assistant Engineer Strange and Lt. Gerhard located the apartment occupant, who was disoriented, and removed him from his bedroom. Deputy Chief Olimpo and Lt. Juel then took over in the hallway, carrying the occupant down three flights of stairs in a smoke- and heat-filled environment. The occupant was rushed to Abington Memorial Hospital for treatment. Other firefighters helped search the structure for victims and extinguish the fire, all while also battling icy conditions caused by a misty rain.
"Despite the danger presented by heavy smoke and fire conditions and near-zero visibility, the crews of Engine 300 and Ladder 400 successfully rescued the resident from fire," said Fire Marshal Clark. "The gentleman is alive today because of their actions as well as the coordinated efforts of all fire units that responded to this incident."
The ATFD is an all-volunteer force made up of five fire companies all operating within Abington Township. The five companies that form the ATFD are Abington, McKinley, Weldon, Edge Hill, and Roslyn. The service area is made up of approximately 15 square miles of Abington Township and is comprised of residential, commercial, educational, medical, light industrial, and other suburban properties. The ATFD serves approximately 55,000 residents. The ATFD headquarters is located at 1176 Old York Road in Abington. For more information, call (267) 536-1055 or visit AbingtonFD.org.
STORM: Seen here, from left to right, are Carol DiJoseph, President of the Abington Township Board of Commissioners; Chief John Bothwell, Abington Fire Company; Chief Chris Bors, McKinley Fire Company; Chief Bud Gerhard, Weldon Fire Company; Chief Frank Schuck, Edge Hill Fire Company; and Assistant Chief Mike Ratka, Roslyn Fire Company.
INDIVIDUALS RECOGNIZED FOR FIRE RESCUE 1: Seen here, from left to right, are Les Benzak, Commissioner; Lt. Phil Juel, Edge Hill Fire Company; Deputy Chief Chris Olimpo, Edge Hill Fire Company; and Dennis Zappone, Commissioner.
INDIVIDUALS RECOGNIZED FOR FIRE RESCUE 2: Seen here, from left to right, are Carol Gillespie, Commissioner; Firefighter Chris Younger, Weldon Fire Company; Assistant Engineer Christopher Strange, Weldon Fire Company; Lt. Jon Gerhard, Weldon Fire Company; and Carol DiJoseph, President of the Abington Township Board of Commissioners.