Emergency personnel were dispatched around 9:20 AM for a working structure fire this morning to a duplex property at 206 and 208 Biddle Street.
UPDATE: The duplex fire was ruled arson by Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Trooper John Burns. The fire was set on the second floor of 208 Biddle Street, a vacant/condemned property. The other half of the duplex (206 Biddle Street) was not vacant and lived in my a boy and his disabled mother.
Captain Jason Hartz, Citizens Fire Company, said firefighters arrived to see fire and heavy smoke in the second floor bedroom of 208 Biddle Street, a vacant property.
“If they (firefighters) didn’t get here as fast as they did, it would have been much worse,” said local resident Jack Quinn.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the second floor.
Hartz added that the fire is suspicious, adding that there hasn’t been power to the home for a number of years.
Firefighter Frank Hill, incident commander, American Hose Company, praised the quick response from all the responding emergency units. On scene were American Hose Company, Citizen’s Fire Company, East End Fire Company, South Ward Fire Company, Tamaqua Rescue Squad, Tamaqua Ambulance, Tamaqua Police, Tamaqua Fire Police and others.
It was reported that firefighters were unable to reach the back of the property due to an illegally parked vehicle. The vehicle was eventually removed.
Tamaqua Fire Police detoured SR309 traffic onto Schuylkill Avenue for the duration due to the fire’s close proximity to SR309 and water hoses that ran across the road. At one time, fire police volunteers had staged an estimated 30 tractor trailers on Pine Street, Mauch Chunk Street and Center Street. Tractor trailers aren’t able to safely negotiate the Schuylkill Avenue detour.
Most emergency responders were released by 12 PM.
In addition to battling the fire, emergency personnel had to deal with the theft of over $13,000 worth of firefighting equipment taken from their fire truck while they battled the fire. Click HERE for the story.
Click HERE to view the story about the fire in the Times News newspaper.
(Click HERE to view photos via Fire & Film.)