Harrison Township fire crews battle stubborn apartment fire on Alabama Avenue

© Images & Video Copyright Lowes Computers | Photojournalist |Paul R. Lowes | AKVNEWS.COM

Harrison Township, Pa. – Fire crews in Harrison Township and surrounding communities responded to a structure fire at 1300 Alabama Avenue shortly before 2:30 pm Monday afternoon.

Harrison Township crews first to arrive on scene found smoke coming from the eaves of the structure that housed a Pivot Physical Therapy business on the bottom floor and 6 apartments located on the second floor.

Not more that 45 minutes into the fire, smoke and heavy flames could be seen coming from the roof area as crews laddered up and set-up ariel trucks to begin pouring water on the roof. The fire appeared to have gotten into the ceilings of the structure and slowly but surely moved from one end of the structure on the Carlisle side of the street towards the center of the structure.

About an hour into the incident, the front windows of the commercial building blew out along with a blow-out of concrete blocks at the rear of the structure. Blocks were littered on a concrete pad and a gaping hole could be seen on the rear wall of the structure. Some damage from the blow-out caused minor damage to a residence behind the building. Crews continued to pour water on the fire but were quickly ordered to clear the structure once the blast occurred.

© Images & Video Copyright Lowes Computers | Photojournalist |Paul R. Lowes | AKVNEWS.COM

Hilltop Hose Fire Chief Mike Krzeminski said the fire appeared to start in the apartments but it was to early to determine the actual cause of the fire. None of the residents were injured, however a couple pets were rescued and one pet was missing. Two firefighters on location did require minor medical treatment. One firefighter was hit with debris and the other firefighter had an asthma condition. Neither firefighter was transported from the scene and returned to working the fire.

The structure appears to be a total loss and poses a threat to the residence at the rear. Officials will be meeting Tuesday morning to review legal steps and move forward with insuring the public is not at risk from a further collapse.

Fire crews remained on scene into the late hours of the evening watering down hot spots.

Assisting companies: 111, 112, 160, 167, 168, 169, 273, 280, 281, 282, 315, Butler 27 & 36, Westmoreland 56-1 & 95-1. EMS: 110, Westmoreland 121 & 272.
Note: not all companies were on scene, many were on standby.

AKVNEWS.COM will continue to update this story as more details are released.