After serving the area for 22 years, Engine 97-1 was picked up by its new owners from Rouses Point Fire Dept in NY Saturday morning April 30. Responding to calls across the region, the truck spent most of its life answering alarms from the Barto station. Most recently it was based in Bally. With the arrival of our new 4 Guys Engine on May 6, the pumper was turned over to its new owners – The Village of Rouses Point Fire Department. Good luck to Rouses Point, hope she serves you as well as she served Washington Township and the surrounding area.
This completes the transfer of both 20+ year old engines from the Eastern Berks fleet to make room for the new 4 Guys pumper. Engine 97-2 had been sold last year to a department in Western Pennsylvania. Both trucks were still serviceab;e, but no longer met the needs of Eastern Berks.
Attack 97 was moved to Station 2 (Bally) temporarily until we take delivery of our New Engine built by 4 Guys in Myersdale, Pa. The new Engine will arrive at the Bally Station Friday 5-6-16.
At 2130 hours on Thursday April 28, Eastern Berks Fire Department and Bally Ambulance were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident with fire on Robin Hill Road in Washington Township, Berks County. Rescue Captain Todd Soffa arrived and reported a vehicle on its side and well involved with fire and the occupant out of the wreckage.
Engine 97-3 arrived and went in service with 2 foam lines, while being supplied by Tanker 97-2. The fire was knocked down within minutes. It was the second vehicle fire that week which involved the flammable metal – magnesium. Such fires cannot be extinguished with water alone, but have to be smothered with foam or an extinguishing chemical called “Purple K”
Eastern Berks units remained on scene until PSP released the vehicle to the local tow company. Eastern Berks units on scene Engine 97-3, Tankers 97-2 & 3, Rescue 97 & Attack 97
Monday April 25th turned out to be another one of those very busy days!
At 1301 hours 97 and EMS were dispatched to investigate a possible controlled burn that was uncontrolled in rural Washington. Deputy 97 arrived and confirmed that it was certainly uncontrolled. In fact we had a working brush fire, now involved outbuildings, wood piles, and the contents of a nearby car port. Apparatus from 95 (Boyertown) and 19 (Earl) were added to the assignment. Firefighters had to access the fire from a long steep driveway that only brush equipment could reach, while engine s and tankers had to stay on the road below and pump water through supply lines dragged by hand up the incline. Crews were on scene for one and half hours before returning to station to repack hose and gear. On scene from 97 were Brush 97 1 & 3, Tankers 97 1, 2 & 3, Engine 97-3, Utility 97.
At 1512 hours, 97 was dispatched again, this time for a vehicle fire in a junkyard off Rt 00 in Washington, just north of Bally. A large header confirmed a working fire upon dispatch. A box truck was well involved and spreading to other nearby vehicles. Brush 97-1 and Engine 97-3 put foam lines in service as well as purple K extinguishers for the magnesium and fuel burning. 97 units on location Brush 97-1, Engines 97-2 and 3, Tankers 97-2 and 3 and Rescue 97.
At 1707 hours 97 was dispatched to assist EMS with an ALS Trauma in Washington, then again at 1746 97 was again dispatched to assist EMS with an ALS Medical in Washington.
In the evening, there was practice and preparing the BBQ pit in Becthelsville for this Saturday’s Chicken BBQ.
4 Guys Fire Trucks in Meyersdale PA has been hard at work on our new truck. The tentative delivery date is set for the first week in May!! A crew from EBFD drove out to the factory on March 15th for inspections. What they saw looked GREAT! We anticipate delivery in time for the Fire Expo in Harrisburg at the end of May. This new truck will replace two 20+ year old engines from the legacy departments. One of those engines has already found a home in Western Pennsylvania, while the other one is being purchased by Rouse Point Fire Department in Upstate New York. In fact as you check the photos, you can see that Ron Asplen has already re-lettered the truck with the name of its soon-to-be owners. Its still responding as Engine 97-2 until the end of April, when ownership will be transferred.
Thursday March 31 – At 15:11 hours, Companies 39, 58, 97 and 575 were dispatched for a brush fire in Hereford Township. Assistant 58 arrived and reported a working fire in the woods and added Lehigh company 19 (Upper Milford) to assist. EBFD personnel arrived and assisted with extinguishing and overhaul. Units operated for about an hour before being placed available. 97 units on scene Brush 97-1, 2 & 3,Tankers 97-2 & 3 & Engine 97-2.
Wednesday March 30 at 1958 hours, 97 was dispatched to assist Montg 67 on a working commercial structure fire in Douglass, Montgomery. Responding were Engines 97-2 & 3, Tankers 97-2 & 3, Attack 97, Rescue 97, Utility 97 and Traffic 97. On scene were apparatus from Montg 67, 37, 79 and 65; Berks 95 and 97. Units from 65 and 37 were sent to cover an MVA in Douglass as well. Initial crews did a great job of limiting damage and knocking the fire quickly. Engine 97-2, now re-lettered “Rouses Point” made the run, before being handed over shortly to its new owners. Arrival Photo at top right is from Douglass Township Police Facebook page
On Tuesday March 8, some of the members of the department traveled to Fleetwood for training on ground support for MedEvac landings. Air Medical flights are used for a variety of reasons, but the fire department becomes involved when the helicopter lands within our coverage area and we are responsible for setting up a safe landing zone, communicating patient information to the flight crew, advising them of any hazards in the area, and assisting moving the patient into the helicopter.
Tonight’s training involved ninety minutes of classroom time covering criteria for the flights, landing zone requirements, how to safely approach the helicopter, communications, and even what to do in case of a crash (emergency shut down, access procedures, amount and type of fuel on board, etc.) Following the class time, one of LVNH’s MedEvac crews landed on a nearby ballfield in Fleetwood, and we had a chance to examine the chopper up close.
Want to show your support for Eastern Berks Fire Department?
Click below for an application for our PennDOT approved official state EBFD license plates.
EBFD has the final approval for all plates
Print the form out and return it with your check payable to Eastern Berks Fire Department to:
EBFD PO Box 43 Barto PA 19504
The cost of the plate is $25 fee for the department and in addition to the $25 the state needs to produce the plates for us. Cost would be $50.00 payable to EBFD
If personalizing a plate an additional $100 fee is added so the total check needs to be $150 to EBFD.
Eastern Berks Fire Department, as do many local fire companies, operates in snow mode during major snow events like this weekend’s Blizzard of 2016. That means preparing apparatus ahead of forecasted storms, including placing tire chains on key trucks.
Bally Ambulance, often requests that once the snow reaches a certain depth (often 6+ inches), the nearest fire department respond with the ambulance to help gain access to each patient through unplowed driveways and unshoveled walkways. This involves crews responding from the Bally station with the snow plow equipped Utility 97, and from the Bechtelsville station with additional manpower.
In addition, during major storms, crews often sleep at one of the stations to make sure the apparatus can respond to any emergency. During and after this blizzard, with its incredible challenges, we were lucky to be called upon only five times:
- Saturday January 23 – In the midst of the “Blizzard of 2016,” 97 and 505 were dispatched for an ALS trauma in Washington Township. Crews were on standby in one of the department’s station and responded to assist the ambulance crew in gaining access to the patient. Roads were nearly impassable, and only with help of the Washington Township road crew could the medics reach the patient. 97 personnel assisted with gaining access to the house and transferring the patient to the ambulance. Thank you Washington Township.
- Sunday January 24 – In the aftermath of the Blizzard of 2016, 97, 505 and Montg 67 were dispatched for an ALS Medical in Douglas Township. Roads were snow covered, drifted to one lane in places. Once again a township road crew assisted by clearing the home’s driveway through the 2+ feet of snow in order for medics to gain access to the patient. Fire personnel then shoveled the walk to the house and assisted to transport the patient over the snowy drive to the waiting ambulance. Thank you Douglass Township!
- Sunday January 24 – Just as the weary 97 firefighters and families were sitting down to their annual holiday dinner, once again 97 and 505 were dispatched to an ALS Trauma, this one in Washington Township. Again fire crews assisted EMS in gaining access to the patient and removing the patient across snow to the ambulance.
- Monday January 25 – 97 and 505 dispatched for an BLS trauma in Washington. As with the other calls, assisted in snow removal, and getting patient to litter.
- Monday January 25 – 97 dispatched to investigate possible transformer fire in Washington. Deputy 97 arrived to find smoke coming from underground transformer vault. Assignment held to E97-2 at normal flow. Area cordoned off with yellow scene tape. As the company was going available Met-Ed arrived on location.
After the storms, we then make sure hydrants are cleared of snow (something with which the public can gladly assist!)
All part of your 100% volunteer unpaid professional fire department!