A member of the Bethel Township Fire Department was injured while fighting a fire on Union Road Thursday afternoon.  Bethel Township Fire Chief said his crew member suffered “musculoskeletal” injuries to their shoulder area, but refused treatment at a local hospital.  King said the fire caused significant damage, but was not considered a total loss.

Crews were called to the 2100 block of South Union Road around 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon, initially reported as hay bales being on fire next to the house.  Before Bethel Township crews could arrive, dispatch provided an update from the caller, who said that the house was now on fire.  Upon arrival, Bethel crews discovered the house to be fully-involved.

King said his crews mounted a “defensive” attack on the fire from the exterior of the house, saying conditions were too dangerous to justify first going inside in this situation.

“When we have a heavy fire volume and reduced amounts of water, we’re going to use a defensive maneuver until adequately safe to enter,” said King, who noted that there were no fire hydrants in the area, so he called for tankers to be brought in via mutual aid.  

“The dynamics would have been completely different if there had been lives to save, but the caller told us that there were no people or no pets in the home. If we thought there was someone inside the home, we would have made entry—we’re going to risk it all to save a life,” King stressed.

The firefighter was injured after crews had entered the home to perform an “overhaul,” said King.  Crews were pulling down pieces of the ceiling to ensure the fire was totally out when a large portion of the ceiling collapsed and fell on the firefighter.

“There’s always that risk while you’re doing overhaul and pulling ceilings,” King said.

King said the fire reportedly started because the homeowner was using hay to insulate against freezing pipes, and then used some sort of heating source to warm the pipes but caught the hay on fire instead.

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