13:42 hrs / 701 Walnut Street / Box 0103 / C Platoon
The automatic fire alarm sounded from the location noted - Reading Center Plus - a large, 4-story commercial furniture store of heavy timber construction. Initial indications were a smoke detector activation in the area of the ground floor kitchen. Engine 1, Tower 1, and Car 9 (DC Glore) arrived and began an investigation into the nature of the alarm activation. Crews were immediately met with an odor of smoke which was indicative of Class A (i.e. paper, wood) combustibles. A persistent smoke condition was found on the lower floors, the origin of which was not immediately apparent. Car 9 then requested that the first alarm assignment be filled-out.
Engine 1 secured a positive water supply as two 1 3/4" handlines were stretched - one into the basement area and one into the first floor, where smoke was now intensifying. Engine 1 also stretched a 4" line to the Fire Department Connection as a precaution. As firefighters began to open void spaces in the area of the initial smoke detector activation, a fire was found burning along a massive beam in the basement. In order to check the spread of the flames, multiple layers of flooring were opened on the first floor in the showroom of the store in a labor-intensive process using several saws.
The fire, which was placed under control at 14:50 hrs., was generally confined to the area of origin. The Office of the Fire Marshal is investigating.
This building, when operating as the M. J. Earl warehouse, was heavily damaged in general alarm fire on November 29, 1955. Box 36 was transmitted at 15:15 hrs for that fire.
AFA - 13:42 hrs
Engine 1, Tower 1, Car 9 (DC Glore)
Box 0103 - 13:55 hrs
Engines: 3, 5, 9
Rescue 2 (Lt. Kuhn), Medic 3, Car 9 (DC J. Stoudt, Jr), OFM - FM 10 (Searfoss), Car 23 (Lt. Zulick), Car 24 (Lt. Litzenberger), Car 25 (Lt. Naylor)