At 1515 hours Station 95 was dispatched for a structure fire at 56 Edgehill Road, reported to be a detached garage with vehicles inside. Assistant Chief 49 Amity Fire Company could see the smoke header from Douglass Drive and Fancy Hill Road and recommended that a second alarm should dispatched due to the apparent size of the fire. Assistant Chief 95 told Berks County to do the second alarm. On arrival the building was completely involved and it was verified that everyone was out of the building. Initial reports were that 8 Classic cars were stored in the Building and the homeowner was able to save 2 of them. Later verified there were 6 Classic Cars and 2 of them were saved leaving 4 Classic cars to burn up in the garage along with numerous tool chest and tools and various shop equipment and vehicle lifts. One Firefighter was told that there may be as much as $500,000.00 just in Snap On tools in the garage, the Owner is a Snap On Tool dealer. Without knowing the value of the vehicles lost and total loss of the structure and repairs that will be need to the Residence this would put cost somewhere between $500,000.00 and a million dollars.
The heat from the garage caused damage to the residence melting siding and shingles which made that the primary job on arrival firefighter soaked down the residence to keep it from burning and also started to attack the fire in the garage. Behind the garage were numerous barrels of waste oil which became super heated and began exploding sending flames up to 50 feet in the air and sometimes sending debris and shrapnel flying through the air landing a few hundred yards away. The heat and debris also started a brush fire in the wooded area above the garage that was heading toward another residence that was about 150 yards away so a separate alarm was put out for a brush detail to handle that fire while the current companies handled the scene with the garage. Due to the oil on scene Mt Penn Fire was dispatched for a Haz Mat response and they handle containment of scene.
The homeowner was injured while trying to get his vehicle out of the garage, he had burns to his hand and face, he was taken to Patient First by his wife after the fire was extinguished.
Four firefighters from BAF&R were injured, 3 while fighting the Brush fire; 1 firefighter collapsed and was temporarily unconscious due to dehydration and smoke inhalation and he was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital by Bally Ambulance where he was treated and admitted, 2 others were treated on scene by EMS for smoke inhalation and dehydration and 1 firefighter was injured with a laceration to his finger while moving equipment, he was treated on scene by EMS as well.
The Salvation Army Canteen was on scene providing food and drinks for the large amount of firefighters on scene.
The fire appears to be accidental in nature.
There were numerous Fire Companies Berks, Montgomery and Chester Counties assisting BAF&R with this large complex scene and we are very grateful for all of their assistance.