Memorial Day Weekend was a busy one for the crews of Eastern Berks Fire Department. We responded to ten incidents, in addition to our normal presence at Grand View Speedway providing fire protection at the track.
Sat May 28 – Tankers 97-1, 2, & 3 were dispatched at 1715 hours to assist with water for a three alarm structure fire in Rockland. Multiple departments were on scene for a fully involved house fire in brutal heat.
Sat May 28 – 97, 95 and EMS were dispatched at 1832 hours for a brush fire threatening a structure in Washington. Recalled. Controlled burn.
Sat May 28 – 97 dispatched to supply a driver for EMS 505, so both ambulance crew members could ride in back with patient in Bechtelsville.
Sat May 28 – 97 and 525 dispatched at 1918 hours for an ALS medical at Grand View Speedway in Washington.
Sat May 28 – 97 dispatched at 2335 hours to a commercial structure in Bally for a sparking air conditioner unit. Crews disconnected power to the faulty AC unit.
Mon May 30 – Memorial Day – 97 and EMS dispatched at 0239 hours for an ALS Medical in Washington
Mon May 30 – Memorial Day – 97 dispatched at 0725 hours to assist EMS on location with an ALS Medical in Bechtelsville
Mon May 30 – Memorial Day – 97 and 332 dispatched at 0752 hours for an ALS Medical in Washington
Mon May 30 – Memorial Day – 97 and 39 dispatched at 1238 hours for a large tree down blocking Conrad Rd in District. Crews cut up and removed a very large tree and cleared the road with the assistance of a resident.
At 0650 hrs Tuesday 5-24-16 Co’s 19, 97, 5 and 505 were dispatched to MVA with injuries Koch Road Pike Twp. Chief 19 received a call that one of the vehicles was on fire. Chief and Engine 19 arrived and confirmed working car fire and went into service with 1 3/4 CAFS line. Attack 97 arrived and assisted 19′s crew with the fire, Rescue 97 assisted with patient care, 2 MICU’S were added sending 525 and 332. 97 units on scene were Attack 97, Rescue 97 and Brush 97-3.
On Monday May 23, Eastern Berks Fire Department was dispatched to assist State Police from Reading with fluid downs at the scene of an overturned trash truck at the intersection of County Line and Hoffmansville Roads in Washington Township. Responding were Engine 97-3 and Brush 97-1, along with Fire Police. Crews assisted Berks Mont Towing, which had three wreckers on scene, in addition to providing traffic control while the truck was uprighted and pulled back onto the roadway.
On Sunday May 22, 2016, Eastern Berks Fire Department and Bally Ambulance were dispatched at 0614 hours for the report of a Motor Vehicle Accident on Forgedale Road in Washington Township. Berks County Communication indicated the vehicle had struck a tree, but caller was unsure of injuries. Chief 97 (Mike Mutter) arrived and confirmed a one vehicle accident with the vehicle over the embankment and one person injured. EMS arrived and packaged the patient at the wreck site and firefighters formed a chain to lift the victim up from the site onto the roadway. Patient was transported to a local hospital. Crews waited on scene until released by PSP Reading.
On Tuesday May 17 at 6:28pm, Eastern Berks Fire Department and Bally Ambulance were dispatched for a Motor Vehicle Accident with Entrapment – reported to be a car into a barn in a rural section of Washington Township, Berks County. Deputy Fire Chief Chris Schaeffer arrived and confirmed that a car half way into a barn, but approximately four feet off the ground, with an occupant trapped into the car. Fire crews stabilized the vehicle with high reach jacks designed for the fire service, and were able to extricate the victim with the use of a ladder. Fire crews remained on scene while the car was pulled from the building.
It is with deep regret we share the passing of Earl Twp. Fire Police Captain Richard (Slim) Oswald. He served as Co. 19′s Fire Police Captain and was a dedicated volunteer serving the community for 50 years.
Slim was a well-know presence in Berks County and his towering figure and booming voice were matched with a large, warm, giving heart. Slim had been suffering from a myriad of medical issues that ultimately took him from our earthly existence. The family, department and friends have our deepest sympathies.
Click here for an article about Slim being honored.
The following is Slim’s obituary as it appeared in the Reading Eagle:
Richard D. “Slim” Oswald, 72, of Boyertown, passed away May 14, 2016 in the Reading Hospital and Medical Center. He was the companion of Diane Bender. Born October 28, 1943, he was a son of the late Merlin Oswald and Edna C. (Mest) Carl.
Richard attended Boyertown High School and was a member of St. Joseph’s (Hill) Lutheran Church, Boyertown.
He was employed as a truck driver for various companies, last employed by Christel in Bechtelsville, PA, and worked as a security guard at the Oley Valley High School and the Oley Fair. Richard was a member of Earl Township Fire Company where he served as captain of the fire police. He also was a member of the Oley Fire Company, Bechtelsville Fire Company and various other fire companies.
He was a life member of the Fire Police Association of Berks County and a life member of the Pike Township Sportsman Club.
Richard loved to dance at hoedowns and enjoyed square dancing. He also enjoyed roller skating.
Surviving are his sister, Catherine L., wife of George Davidheiser, Boyertown; a brother, David A. Carl, Bridgeport; and a half-sister, Mindy Miller, West Lawn; and Cindy, wife of David Swann, of Mertztown. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Richard was preceded in death by his half-sister, Karen Lenhart.
Services will be Thursday at 11 a.m. from St. Joseph (Hill) Lutheran Church, 244 Koch Road, Boyertown. Viewings will be held Wednesday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Stitzel Family Funeral Homes and Crematory, Inc., 423 Main Street, Oley, and again on Thursday morning from 9:30 a.m. until time of the service at St. Joseph (Hill) Lutheran Church. Burial will be in Hill Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Earl Township Fire Company, 1340 Ironstone Drive, Boyertown, PA 19512.
At 0310 hours on Tuesday May 10, the structure fire response was dispatched for the 600 block of Chestnut Street in Bally Borough. Sent on the assignment were 97, 58, 95, Montg 65 for RIT and 505. Chief 97 arrived quickly and reported fire in the garage. With the Bally station being one block away, Engine 97-2 was on scene almost immediately and two pre-connects were pulled, and entry made. The fire was quickly knocked down and then placed under control, with units not on scene returned to station.Engine 97-2 was supplied by Tanker 58 and Tanker 97-2.
Company 97 was on location for better than an hour completing overhaul and ventilating the residence before returning to quarters. Although not the first run for our new engine, it was the first time we flowed water at a fire scene. 97 apparatus on scene were Engines 97-2 & 3, Tankers 97-2 & 3, and Rescue 97.
At 1432 hrs on Monday May 9th, 97 was dispatched to assist Co 5 on a silo fire on Mine Rd Pike Twp. Crews reported a working fire as an old silo was being dismantled. The silo contained 20 year old silage which was burning above the level of the partial dismantled silo and was a collapse hazard. Tankers 97-2 and 3 were part of an extensive tanker shuttle, and Engine 97-3 set up a tanker fill site Carl Road, in addition to a second fill site set up by 95 on Marburger Road. The company was in service many hours and an excavator was called in to assist with overhaul. 97 units on scene Engines 97-2 and 3, Tankers 97-2 and 3 and Utility 97.
A crew left home in the wee hours of the morning on Friday May 6th. They spent the morning mounting equipment brought with them to the factory and making minor modifications. The truck and its happy firefighters headed home from western PA across the turnpike and arrived in Bally around 7:40pm.
The apparatus was loaded with hose and equipment on Saturday May 7, and drivers got their first training behind the wheel. The engine was placed into service with Berks County Communications shortly before noon and responded to its first call at 1707 hours as it and other 97 apparatus were dispatched to investigate the odor of something burning in a residence in Washington
Click here to see an arrival video on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc3j86OwNXo&app=desktop
Below are photos of the completed apparatus at the factory.
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.