UPDATE: Man Airlifted by STAT MedEvac Following Structure Fire in Knox
(Photos by Dave Cyphert of ProPoint Media.www.propointmedia.com)
Clarion County 9-1-1 received a call reporting a structure fire at 335 Best Avenue in Knox Borough with possible entrapment at approximately 9:08 p.m. on Thursday, November 14.
Knox Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., Shippenville-Elk Township Volunteer Fire Department, St. Petersburg Volunteer Fire Department, Emlenton Fire Department, and Perry Township Fire Department were dispatched to the scene, along with Knox Ambulance.
STAT MedEvac was also called to the scene.
According to Russ Cataldo, Chief of Knox Volunteer Fire Company, firefighters were informed that there was confirmed entrapment while en route to the fire.
Cataldo said when they arrived at the scene, a witness approached and told them there was a man trapped on the third floor of the house.
Chief Cataldo then approached and was able to locate the man, who was in the attic apartment, still conscious, alert, and in need of immediate assistance, as the back of the house was fully involved.
“My guys immediately got a 40-foot ladder off the engine and we got the ladder up to the third story,” Cataldo told exploreClarion.com.
“As soon as we got the ladder up, the smoke went really, really heavy. We lost sight of the patient because of the smoke. I sent my assistant chief two up the ladder and he was able to find him (the patient) in the smoke and pull him out.”
According to Cataldo, the man was then brought down and was found to still be conscious and coherent, despite some serious burns.
“Knox Ambulance immediately got him on a stretcher to the ambulance. I called 9-1-1 on my radio and told them we needed to get an air ambulance in the field and a landing zone would be at the Peanut Park baseball fields.”
Firefighters from St. Petersburg were sent to set up the landing zone, while the other firefighters at the scene began the attack on the fire.
“The fire consumed the back stairs from the ground floor to the third level. When we got there, there was heavy fire in the kitchen. We got it out, and then there was heavy fire in the attic,” Cataldo noted.
The fire in the attic became a major hurdle because the only entrance was up the back stairs, which the firefighters could not access. They ended up going through the house to bridge a hole through a wall to reach the attic before the fire could be completely extinguished.
The scene was finally cleared around 1:50 a.m.
Cataldo said he was given word that the man who was rescued suffered second degree burns; however, he wasn’t given specifics on how much of the man’s body was burned.
“I did receive word back that the patient was thankful that we got him out.”
As for the house, Cataldo said while it sustained some heavy damage from the fire, it isn’t a complete loss.
“We saved the house; it could definitely be repaired. It would take quite a bit to put it back, but the house is saved.”
Cataldo also noted that the cause of the fire remains undetermined, and a Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal investigation is ongoing.
Editor’s note: Chris Rossetti contributed to this story
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