Local volunteer firefighters were kept busy over the last week during an extended heat wave that saw temperatures rise to 103 degrees.
Last Tuesday East Greenville firefighters were dispatched at 8:27 p.m. to a fire at Blommer Chocolate on Blommer Drive in Upper Hanover Township.
According the East Greenville Chief Jason Wilson, “The fire was reported in a two-story deodorizer unit located on the roof of the plant.”
Montgomery County dispatch reported that flames were clearing the top of the unit. Firefighters responded quickly and found heavy smoke from two vents in the unit.
Using aerial trucks to access the roof, firefighters were able to access and extinguish the fire.
Wilson said, “All workers in the affected area were evacuated before firefighters arrived and there were no injuries.” He added that the damage was extensive and the owners are still assessing the extent and that no estimate was available to date.
Wilson declared the fire under control at 9:42 p.m. Firefighters were on the scene until 10:49 p.m.
The cause of the fire was ruled accidental by Upper Hanover Fire Marshal Jeff Ashman who reported that, “The fire started in the thermal heating vessel of the unit and ignited the filters and cocoa butter within it.”
Assisting at the scene were units from Green Lane, Hereford, Milford Township, Pennsburg, Red Hill and Trumbauersville fire companies. Units from Harleysville Fire Company were standing by for Red Hill and units from Quakertown and Souderton were on standby for Pennsburg.
Emergency medical units from the Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance Association also responded to the scene.
The Eastern Berks Fire Department was called to the Bally Block Company at 7th and Walnut streets in Bally around 9 a.m. last Thursday for the report of a building fire.
Firefighters quickly arrived on the scene to find smoke coming from a dust collector attached to the roof of the building.
The bulk of the fire was knocked down quickly, but firefighters had to battle near record-breaking temperatures as they worked to extinguish the stubborn blaze for another 1 ½ hours. Firefighters were on the scene throughout the afternoon.
Areas were set up by emergency medical service crews to monitor firefighters and help keep them hydrated. Two firefighters were transported to the Lehigh Valley Hospital Cedar Crest for heat exhaustion. Two other firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion at the scene.
According to a report, the fire started after a piece of metal went through the suction system of a collector, gathering wood-chips from another machine. No major damage was reported from the fire, and the company was expected to be back in business quickly.
More than a dozen fire companies from Berks and Montgomery counties helped to battle the fire and half-dozen emergency service units provided a “rehab” area for the firefighters.
Also responding were canteen units from North Penn Goodwill of Souderton.
Quick action by firefighters last Friday kept a fire in a shed in the 2200 block of East Buck Road in Upper Hanover Township, containing pool chemicals, from turning into a possible cause for evacuation.
Pennsburg Fire Company was called to the scene at 1:52 p.m. The fire was just beginning to break through the roof of the structure when firefighters were able to extinguish it, careful not to compromise the chemicals stored inside the structure.
The fire was declared under control by Pennsburg Fire Captain Greg Young at 2:04 p.m. Firefighters were on the scene until 3:09 p.m.
According to Upper Hanover Fire Marshal Jeff Ashman, “The fire has been ruled accidental and the cause is undetermined.” Damage to the 10’x20’ shed and its contents has been estimated at $10,000.
Assisting at the scene were units from East Greenville, Milford Township and Red Hill fire companies, and an emergency medical unit from the Upper Perkiomen Valley Ambulance Association.
Of the recent rash of fires, Upper Hanover Fire Marshal Jeff Ashman said, “The incidents that occur during times of intense heat leave firefighters physically spent, which in turn has an effect on their families.”
He urges all to use caution and exercise fire safety at all times.