A volunteer fire company in Schulykill County is picking up the pieces after a fire destroyed its fire company early on Saturday.
Officials said the fire happened just before 5 a.m. at the Washington Hook and Ladder Company along East Mahanoy Street in Mahanoy City.
The fire happened hours before the Mahanoy City Sequicentennial and the 59th Annual Fireman’s Convention.
Firefighters said they were surprised that 911 dispatchers were calling them for a fire at their building.
“I couldn’t get here fast enough to see if we got the truck out and of course we didn’t get the truck out. Mike had his gear on I had my gear on all of the rest of the guys gear is in the station we lost it all,” said Washington Hook & Ladder Company president, Howell Davis.
Neighbors living along East Mahanoy street said they were suprised to see the fire department on fire.
“Scary and terrifying. I never want to see it again, never. I mean the flames were just into the street,” Brenda Forster said.
Firefighters said there were only two responders who had their equipment.
The 75 foot ladder truck and turn-out gear (equipment) was destroyed.
Firefighters said it was difficult watching their building burn, and not being able to help.
“We pretty much couldn’t do anything. We all huddled, gathered comforted each other and just watched in disbelief as our building went up in smoke,” assistant fire chief Michael Matunis said.
A state police fire marshal was on scene Saturday afternoon.
He has not released a cause for the fire.
The fire company will open up a bank account on Monday at M&T Bank for anyone who wants to donate to the company.
Firefighters are unsure if they will be able to operate its fire company out of their building that was constructed in 1887.
“Next is rising up from the ashes. Hopefully we get everything straightened out with community support and help from fellow firefighters and everything else hopefully we rebound from this,” Matunis said.