At 13:38 on Friday, January 20th, the GFC received a dispatch to assist Mt. Pleasant Co. 30 with a structure fire on Hill Road in Penn Township. Smoke was reported coming from the C side wall of a residential structure.
Mt. Pleasant Quint 30 and GFC E55 arrived on scene simultaneously at 13:50. Both crews joined the Bernville E29 crew, who were already on scene at the C side of the structure. An area of charred and melted vinyl siding was visible on the C side of the structure, but no fire was showing. The rainy conditions of the day had apparently extinguished any exterior fire.
Command ordered the exterior C side wall opened in an effort to check for any fire contained within. Once the exterior wall was opened, firefighters found a stud with an area of alligator burn pattern, but no fire showing.
The homeowner informed firefighters that there was a refrigerator and a freezer on the other side of the wall which were both were plugged into the same duplex outlet. Firefighters moved the appliances away from the wall, but found no evidence of charring or heat around the outlet. Also, the outlet was well below the area of ignition on the exposed stud, so a faulty or overloaded electrical circuit was ruled out as the cause of the fire.
The cause of the fire was later determined when one of the residents reported that there had been a plastic flower pot that sat on a shelf next to the wall. The pot was used as a receptacle for extinguished cigarette butts. When the shelving was placed in its original position next to the wall, the charred remains of the pot lined up with where the point of ignition had been determined to be. Apparently a cigarette butt had not been fully extinguished before being placed in the pot. This caused the pot to ignite, thus causing the damage to the C side exterior wall and the stud within.
The situation was declared under control around 14:30, the property was released to the homeowner and fire crews were released to their stations. No estimate of damage was available, and there were no injuries of firefighters or civilians.
Those responding for the GFC were:
Asst. Chief Terry Royce
Capt. Eric Thrush
FFs Ryan Noll and Dylan Heckman
Photographer Steve Spies