What was dispatched at 19:46 on Sunday evening, October 22 as a routine AFA turned out to be anything but. It morphed into a blaze that wound up destroying the entire inventory of the Evans Foods warehouse on Bernville Road in Greenfields, resulting in a loss of over $1,000,000.
While on their way to the GFC Station, FF Billy Pagan and his son, Jr. FF Eli Pagan passed the dispatched location and saw no visible smoke or fire. Their thoughts were that this was a false alarm. Minutes later when they arrived at the GFC Station they heard Lt. 57, Scott Trate, who was in the area, come over the radio stating that there was heavy smoke coming from the A and B side of the Evans Food Warehouse.
Capt. Eric Thrush, Lt. Joe Stoudt, and FF Dylan Matz along with FF Billy Pagan and Jr. FF Eli Pagan responded to the scene in Engine 55. Also responding were Fire Police Lt. Dylan Heckman, Fire Police Patrolmen Jeff Allen and Gary Pinsonnault.
Upon arrival Capt. Eric Thrush and crew were met with heavy smoke coming from the A, B and D sides. Capt. Thrush took command and seeing the magnitude of the situation struck a second alarm at 20:21. At 21:56 Capt. Thrush struck a third alarm in order to get relief for exhausted personnel on scene. All in all, in excess of 12 companies responded.
Weather conditions were such that the smoke would not dissipate, making locating the fire extremely difficult. Twice during the evening the premises had to be evacuated because of heavy smoke and zero visibility. A total of 4 firefighters necessitated transport to Penn State Health to be treated for smoke inhalation. All were later released, and returned to duty.
Fire Police closed Rt. 183 between North Tulpehocken Rd. and Barlow Avenue. Rt. 183 was not reopened until 03:52 Monday morning.
At 02:17 extensive overhaul could begin, and upon the arrival of Federal, State, and Local Fire inspectors at around 07:00 the GFC crew was released.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, although the cause is not thought to be suspicious.