Dingman firefighters answer record 16 calls over MLK weekend

No one is injured: Many of the calls were related to heating units

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  • Firefighters work to locate the fire under the fire place on Long Ridge Road in Hemlock Farms. (Photo provided)

  • Fire at Gap View Road in Gold Key development. (Photo provided)

  • Fire at Gap View Road in Gold Key development. (Photo provided)

  • Fire at Gap View Road in Gold Key development. (Photo provided)

“Since the weather has been cold, we’ve had quite a lot heating related emergencies, like chimney and wood stove issues. Make sure your home heating, whatever type you’re using, is inspected by professionals to keep it in good shape.”
Fire Chief Mark O’Brien

By Anya Tikka

— Dingman Township's volunteer fire department received a record 16 calls over Martin Luther King weekend, said Fire Chief Mark O’Brien.

“Five of those were fires, and the rest minor alarms, like a wire down, alarms going off, and medical emergencies,” he said.

The average over a weekend is about 10, he said, adding the cold weather is probably a contributing factor. Many emergencies were heating related.

One was a large structural fire that totally destroyed a house. No one was injured in any of the incidents.

The fire department was alerted at about 4:30 a.m. on Monday morning to a house on fire at Gap View Rd. in Gold Key development, with possible entrapment. It turned out the occupants of the house, three adults and one child were not in the house that night, no one was hurt, and they are believed to be staying with friends.

The fire was already raging when the fire department arrived at the three-story home. A request for help went out, and other units from Dingman, Milford, Westfall, and Bushkill came and worked to contain the fire.

Additional help arrived from Montague, N.J., Sandyston, N.J,. and Delaware, and they provided the water supply. The Matamoras Fire Department assisted with their cascade.

While the fire was mostly extinguished within an hour, it took the all-volunteer crews seven hours to finally leave.

“We left at noon when it was totally extinguished,” O’Brien said. "There were steps of overhaul, to make sure the fire was out."

The cause of the fire is unknown. The Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal is investigating as usual with all significant fires.

O’Brien said the house has a fireplace but it was not believed to be in use. The occupants were not home at the time of the fire.

O’Brien extended special appreciation toward those who stepped up.

“Thank you to Gold Key Maintenance and Greiner Excavating for the assistance on the Gap View incident, and a special thank you to the residents of Gold Key who provided coffee and tea to the men and women working at the fire scene and the water supply fill site," he said.

Back-to-back blazesThere were two fires on Saturday. Around 10 p.m., a call came in about a possible structure fire on Wild Acres Drive in Delaware Township. It was quickly contained. The crew “determined the cause of the alarm was due to sparks from a fireplace that caused no danger.”

About an hour later, an alarm came in about a furnace on fire at Poplar Drive in the Pocono Woodlands. When firefighters arrived, they found the homeowner had already extinguished the flames with baking soda. They helped clear up the smoke from the fire in the basement.

On Sunday, there were two fires.

In the morning, at about 9:30 a.m., a chimney fire was reported at Long Ridge Drive in Hemlock Farms.

“The crews worked for three hours to locate and extinguish a smoldering fire under the base of the fire place,” O’Brien said.

Almost 12 hours later, at 10 p.m., an alarm was raised over a pellet stove malfunctioning at Hillview Place in Shohola Township. While the crews were on their way, “The incident was quickly scaled back by the Shohola FD, and Dingman Township units were returned,” O’Brien said.

Of the other 11 calls, many were related to heating units.

“Since the weather has been cold, we’ve had quite a lot heating related emergencies, like chimney and wood stove issues,” O’Brien said in a message to all residents. "Make sure your home heating, whatever type you’re using, is inspected by professionals to keep it in good shape so you don’t have these issues."

The others were minor incidents, many of them medical. The fire department also serves as an ambulance service, transporting people to the nearby hospitals according to the severity and type of issues they have.

“Currently, we work with four area hospitals, and take people to a place where they have best care for it, for example, a stroke,” O'Brien said said.

The hospitals are Bon Secours Memorial in Port Jervis, N.Y., Wayne Memorial in Honesdale, Pa., Lehigh Valley in Allentown, Pa., and Newton Memorial in Newton, N.J.

All of the approximately 20 firefighters are volunteers.

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