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Firefighters struggle in the heat as flames damage Berwick homes

Several row homes were hit by fire Monday morning in Columbia County. The hot conditions made things difficult for fire crews.

BERWICK, Pa. — Fire damaged five row homes in Berwick on Monday morning.

The fire started around 10 a.m. on Orange Street.

The hot weather made fighting the fire even more difficult.

"When you're in there, you don't know how long you're going to be in there for, especially on a day like today when it's 90 degrees outside. You have to be able to cool down your inner core before you do anything else on the scene," Capt. Brad Harvey said.

Harvey is captain of the Continental Fire Company in Danville. His station was called to the fire to provide rehab services.

"Essentially, we have a tent and a bunch of cooling supplies that we can use to be able to provide the ability to cool the guys down as they come out of the fire," Capt. Harvey said.

People who live in Berwick opened up their air-conditioned homes to firefighters and also brought them supplies.

"The community's gotta stick together," said Jennifer Campbell, executive director of Beyond Violence in Berwick.

Campbell and her team made several trips to the fire scene.

"We got some water and ice and brought it down and said, 'Do you need it?' When we got here, we realized they needed it a lot, so we've been going back and forth bringing them ice and water," Campbell said.

Harvey says the firefighters' equipment weighs between 50 and 100 pounds, so cooling tents are essential on days like this.

"No matter what we do, a lot of the times, there's someone who goes down with heat exhaustion. We're doing whatever we can to prevent that, but unfortunately, when it's 90 degrees outside, and we're wearing all the turnout gear and everything, there's not much else you can do," Harvey said.

Firefighters said one person had to be rescued, but no one was hurt.

A fire marshal is investigating the cause.

ONGOING INCIDENT: Working Structure Fire in the 1200 block of Orange St. 📷 by Angelica Lynn Pagan

Posted by Reliance Fire Company No. 1 on Monday, June 28, 2021