At 5:37 pm on Monday, Companies 37 (Upper Darby), 36 (Cardington-Stonehurst), 26 (Highland Park), Ladder & RIT 20, and Medic 103-7 were dispatched to the Payless Shoe Source, 72 S. 69th St, for a working building fire. Quint 37 and Ladder 36 arived first to find heavy smoke from the roof a 2-story commercial building and a possible fire in the rear. Engine 26 arrived next and dropped a supply line to Qt-37. Ladder 20 (Capt. Stevenson) took the rear alley and reported heavy smoke showing from the 2nd floor. The Ladder crew then stretched an 1 3/4″ up the rear fire escape to attempt an interior attack. UD-11 (D/C Schuster) then established command and immediately struck out a 2nd alarm, bringing in the balance of Company 20, along with several other companies. Rescue 20 (D/C M. Morgan) then arrived in the front and the crew was immediately split for RIT & interior operations. As several members of R-20 set up for RIT, the interior members entered the 1st floor of Payless to pull ceilings and assist in finding the seat of the fire. Ladder 20’s crew then reported extremely high heat and zero visibility on the 2nd floor as they continued to search for the fire. The fire then broke through the roof of the building and command ordered an evacuation. As crews were exiting the building to regroup, heavy fire began coming through the ceiling and into the first floor of the store. A 3rd alarm was then struck as all companies prepared to go in service with their heaviest water lines. Within minutes, the entire store was fully involved. Crews spent the next several hours dumping water on the deep-seated fire from numerous portable water monitors and aerial devices. Engines 20-1 (Chief Hoban) and 20-3 dropped supply lines in the rear of the building to supply aerial devices. Chief 20-9 (Hoban) had Sector “C” command. A 4th alarm plus numerous special calls were brought to the scene for water supply and relief. Company 20 finally cleared the scene just after 10 pm, but relief crews remained on the scene through the night hitting hot spots. All firefighters on scene did an outstanding job of containing fire damage to the original store, although several adjoining businesses did suffer smoke and water damage. Traffic 20 and the 8th District Fire Police assisted with crowd and traffic control through the night. Thank you to Ladder 48 (Tinicum) for covering Station 20 and relieving crews at the fire scene, as well as Engine 09 (Sharon Hill) for covering Station 20 and helping to get our apparatus back in service.
1st Alarm: Co. 37, Co. 36, Co. 26, L-20, R-20
2nd Alarm: Engine 20-1, Engine 20-3, Co. 74 (Primos-Secane), Co. 19 (Lansdowne), Co. 24 (East Lansdowne), Co. 34 (Llanerch)
3rd Alarm: Co. 44 (Springfield), Co. 04 (Darby #1), Engine 03 (Clifton Heights), Montgomery County L-21 (Penn Wynne), Rescue/Air Bank 58 (Bon Air), RIT 08 (Prospect Park)
4th Alarm: Balance of Co. 03, Co. 22 (Millbourne), Co. 16 (Yeadon)
+ numerous special calls, Rehab Units, and Medic Units.
Upper Darby Twp. 72 S. 69th St. – 4-Alarm Building Fire (<—-Click link for video)