Incident Detail: 1970 Call No. 01
Call No. 1
Multiple Structure Fire
No Photo Available for This Incident
February 15, 1970
During the the late evening hours of February 15, 1970, an alarm was sounded for a fire in the 500 Block of Main street in Lykens. Engine 22 responded and took the hydrant at Main and Market Streets. Smoke was found issuing from the center of three connected commercial establishments. The first line directed by Captain 22, Bert Erdman, went through the front door of the Lykens TV Cable Company office to try to reach the seat of the fire. Driven out shortly after entry, other attempts were made through different access points without any luck. Wiconisco Fire Company responded soon after the Lykens crew. Mutual aid from Williamstown and Elizabethville was summoned to help stop the rapidly growing blaze. Flames were soon through the roof and extended east and west from its origin in the basement of the TV Cable Company office. The clothing store of Harry Forman and Son and the restaurant of Billy and Flo Graeff were soon consumed. A fire wall stopped the west progession of the fire at the Tri-Valley TV Store (the old post office). A long night of pouring water onto the blaze followed before it was put out. During the blaze, a ladder kicked out from under two Lykens firemen. They fell and were taken to the Polyclinic Hospital for treatment of their injuries. The Budd Movie Theater across the street was opened and served as an area for firemen to rotate into warmth, as the temperature was in the teens that night. It had been a very cold and snowy winter and snow piles along the side of the streets hampered the firefighters in their battle. A snow pile in front of Chal Welker's South Second Street home had a large hole melted into it from Engine-21's exhaust. You almost could have parked a VW bug in the spot that melted. To supplement the water supply, several pumps were set up at the creeks on each side of town. (After the flood of 1972, Lykens gained most of its new updated water supply system. Prior to then, big fires required pumps at the creeks to supplement the water flow.) The cause of the fire was attributed to a faulty flue at the furnace of the TV Cable office. The following morning, PennDOT sent a road grader, loader, and trucks to cut the ice off main street, which was six to eight inches thick in places.
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