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Fighting Fire in the Freezing Cold

OLD FORGE — It was a busy day in the frigid conditions for firefighters in one community in Lackawanna County.

Fire erupted at a gas station in Old Forge Wednesday night, and that wasn’t the only fire they had to fight in the subfreezing temperatures.

Officials said the fire started around 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Sunoco Station on South Main Street in Old Forge.

Dozens of firefighters endured the bitter cold to put it out.

Fire engulfed the repair shop at the Sunoco Gas Station.

Flames and smoke poured out of the three repair garages, shooting high into the air.

Snow was falling as firefighters worked to get water onto the roaring fire.

One of the first things crews did was shut off the gas pumps standing just feet from the massive blaze.

“If the pumps hadn’t been shut off, everything would have been gone. Including my husband, and that’s what I was worried about,” said Debbie Dees of Old Forge.

“I was in the kitchen and I heard a ‘Whoof,’ and I went and looked out the window, and I saw everything going up in flames,” said Bill Dees of Old Forge.

The fire chief said the freezing temperatures made fighting the fire a challenge.

“We opened up the roof from multiple ladders. Nobody was injured. Obviously it’s cold, it’s icy. I had a couple guys fall. Nobody got injured,” said Chief Mark Tagliaterra of the Old Forge Fire Department.

The chief said it’s all part of the job, and the efforts of the crews did not go unnoticed by the crowd that gathered to watch.

“Luckily the fire department got here quick. They’re the greatest,” said Bill Dees.

There is still no word what caused the fire at the Sunoco Station.

Officials are investigating.

Like we said, firefighters were busy here in Old Forge on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day they had to respond to another fire around 12:30 p.m.

The fire burned an attic in a vacant apartment house along Oak Street.

A contractor escaped the fire unharmed.

The fire chief said the fire does not appear to be suspicious.

Two challenging fires in Old Forge on Wednesday made even tougher by the bone-chilling conditions.


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