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Photos by Bill Hawkins
On December 27, 2000 at 1720 hours units responded to the Pyles Lumber Company on the 6000 block of Allentown Road. The fire, which reached three alarms, caused 1.5 million dollars in damage. Engine companies 27,29, 32, and 23 were dispatched along with Truck 25, Tower 21, Rescue Squad 8 and Battalion Chief 3. While units were enroute, communications advised Battalion Chief 3 (Chief 29) that they had received numerous phone calls and believed the incident to be a working fire. Water Supply 25 responded extra.

Arriving first on the scene, Chief 32 observed heavy fire conditions in the main portion of the building with extension to the mill area. Units responding in the evening rush hour traffic were advised to lay dual lines and set up for master streams upon their arrival. Chief 32 then established command and assigned Battalion Chief 3 to the Interior Sector.

A second alarm was requested by Chief 32 and engine companies 26,37,and 42 also responded. Also responding on the second alarm were Truck 17, Truck 5, Rescue Squad 20, Water Supply 30, Breathing Air 19, Light Unit 19, EMS1, Medic 25, Rescue 3, Car 66 and Emergency Command Unit 1. These units arrived on the scene and were quickly placed into operation. Chief 5 also responded on the call in charge of Side 1 Sector.

Then, the fire reached 3 Alarms bringing engine companies 46, 22, 40, and 33, Truck 24, Truck 28, and Rescue Squad 47 to the scene. Numerous special alarms also brought Truck 39, Engine 381, Engine 451, Engine 202, Engine 111 to the scene. The Southern Operation Commander (Major Day) arrived on the scene and assumed command; Chief 32 was reassigned to the Operations Sector. The interior attack was abandoned at this point and units began defensive operations with master streams. Truck 5 and Truck 25 were positioned on the front of the building and flowed water into the second floor windows with their ladder pipe. Engine crews on Side 1 operated 3 portable deluge sets. Tower 21 operated a ladder pipe on Side 4, while Truck 39 was positioned on Side 3.

Due to the cold weather and icing crew rehab was a major factor in this incident. State Highway crews provided salt and sand to help deal with icy conditions. Dry hoods and gloves were also brought to the scene. To battle the cold, a bus was on the scene for warming the crews battling the fire.

After several hours on the scene, the fire was under control and units began to overhaul and clean up. Investigators remained on the scene throughout the night to determine the cause of the blaze. Truck 5 and Chief 5 cleared the scene at 2228 hours.