Danville House Hit By Fire, Crews Hampered By Icy Scene

DANVILLE — Crews were called out to a fire at a home in Montour County Tuesday morning.

It started around 11:30 p.m. in the home in the 100 block of Ash Street in Danville.

A photo posted on the Firewire Montour County Facebook page shows flames shooting from the home.

Emergency crews in Danville say the conditions were some of the worst they’ve ever faced.  More than three dozen firefighters braved the bitter cold to put out smoke and flames at the house in Danville.

Firefighters say the fire on Ash Street was difficult to fight because as soon as the water hit the ground, it froze.  Emergency responders had to worry about falling on the ice. Their gear was covered in icicles and the temperature was below freezing.

As soon as the water hit the trees and the ground, it turned to ice.  Chief Chris Dickinson says it creates very dangerous conditions for firefighters.

“We have people that, you know, slip on the ice.  Our hoses will freeze up if the nozzles aren’t cracked.  The ladders freeze up.”

No one was home when the fire started.  Emergency responders say more than three dozen firefighters were called to battle the blaze because of the frigid weather.

“When the water got on my helmet, it just froze in place.  When I went to move the visor, it just cracked in half,” said Danville firefighter Ryan Potopsky.

Many of the firefighters looked more like snowmen. After the water hit their gear, it turned to ice.

“Just like a brick. The flexibility is gone and it’s exhausting, the cold air in your lungs,” said Danville firefighter Gerald Buckley.

“You got your gear freezing up in place, so you’re kind of stiff.  You’ve got the water blowing in your face which freezes on your face,” added Potopsky.

The firefighters had to take extra precautions to stay warm.  A heated trailer was brought from Sunbury and the firefighters took 10 to15 minute shifts, rotating to stay warm.

“Just to protect them,” explained Chief Dickinson. “We’re only allowing them, right now, about 15 minutes outside.”

“They’re in the cabs of the fire trucks,” added Buckley. “They’re all heated.”

None of the firefighters was hurt.

UPDATE: Thursday, 1/9 — A state police fire marshal ruled the fire accidental. He said the fire was electrical in nature and it started in the walls of the house.

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