When the extension cord to an engine heater shorted out, a fire started and spread to the loaded truck. Within 11 feet were even more cylinders of acetylene, propane and oxygen.

The Bradford Township, Pa., Volunteer Fire Department got the alarm of a truck fire at the Burdette Oxygen Company at 5:02 p.m. last April 7 and dispatched five trucks and 30 men under the command of Chief Howard Warfield.

MT-155, a 750-gpm pumper carrying 1000 gallons of water was the first-in company under the command of Third Assistant Chief Dan Burkhouse. Fire fighters masked up and advanced a 250foot preconnected 2 ½-inch attack line to the north side of the office building. Wartield arrived and found two trucks fully involved, one loaded with oxygen cylinders (including liquid oxygen), the other empty. Both trucks were parked within 11 feet of a loading dock that contained cylinders of oxygen, acetylene and propane. Located 20 feet away were two aboveground propane storage tanks. Another truck was parked 6 feet away and an office building was 25 feet away.

Warfield immediately called for mutual aid bec ause of the danger of explosion and the possibility of the fire spreading to the loading dock. Chief Ted Shay from the City of Bradford Fire Department responded in the chief’s car with his driver, bringing a portable deluge set. The Lewis Run Volunteer Fire Department responded with MT-64, a 1000-gpm pumper, and MT-63, a 1000-gallon tanker, with 15 men under the command of Chief Irvine Swartz. The Hilltop Volunteer Fire Department responded with MT-71, a 750-gpm pumper, and MT-74, a 2000-gallon tanker with eight men under the command of Chief Sam Heyler. The Rew Volunteer Fire department responded with MT-81, a 150Ogpm pumper, and MT-83, a 2500-gallon tanker, with six men under the command of Greg Burkhouse.

Fire fighters bring a line down the snow-covered hill and open up on the fire

—photos by Jay K Bradish

Bradford Township’s next-in company was MT-151, a 1250-gpm pumper carrying 1000 gallons of water. The crew masked up and advanced another 2 ½-inch preconnected attack line to the north side of the building. I arrived as captain in command of MT-152, a 750-gpm pumper carrying 750 gallons of water. The pumper was positioned on the south side of the building in a protected area. The crew masked up and advanced two 1⅛inch preconnected lines. One line was used to protect and cool the aboveground propane tanks and the other to cool the southwest side of the loading dock.

A 1250-gallon tanker was positioned beside MT-151. Fire fighters set up a 2200-gallon portable tank, dumped their water supply and left for more water. MT-151 drafted with 3-inch hard suction out of the tank. A 1000-gallon tanker supplied first-in MT-155.

Lewis Run’s MT-64 laid a 4-inch supply line from MT-152 to Minard Run Rd. MT-63 supplied MT-64. The crew from MT-74 set up their portable tank to supply MT-155, and additional water was also supplied by MT-71, MT-81 and MT-83.

With the use of the two 2 ½-inch attack lines the fire was quickly brought under control, but these lines continued to operate until it was determined that there was no possibility of an explosion. The 2Viinch lines were shut down and fire fighters moved in for overhaul of the trucks using the two 1 ½-inch lines from MT-152.

Fire fighters remained on the scene for over two hours in 10-degree weather. There were no injuries.

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