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Local Fire News

Fire Damages Historic Former Mt. Carbon Fire Co.

Owner of the building had just taken his sister – who lived there – to Burger King before flames broke out Saturday.

Firefighters responded to the 700 block of S. Centre St. in Mount Carbon, outside Pottsville, on Saturday afternoon, January 20, 2024.

Fire heavily damaged the former Mt. Carbon Fire Co. building on S. Centre St. Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters were summoned to 700-702 S. Centre St. a little after 12:30 p.m. for a report of a fire.

As The Canary arrived on scene, heavy smoke was billowing from the historic brick building, streaming south.

Heavy smoke poured from the former Mt. Carbon Fire Co. building as firefighters first arrived to the scene on Saturday afternoon. (Coal Region Canary photos)
Heavy smoke poured from the former Mt. Carbon Fire Co. building as firefighters first arrived to the scene on Saturday afternoon. (Coal Region Canary photos)

The building hasn’t been used as a fire hall for decades and is currently a residence owned by Dennis Hewes.

In a conversation in front of the charred building, Hewes told The Canary that he had just picked up his sister, who lives at that address, to go to Burger King and do some errands at a little before noon.

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Fire heavily damaged the former Mt. Carbon Fire Co. building on S. Centre St., just outside Pottsville, Saturday afternoon.
Fire heavily damaged the former Mt. Carbon Fire Co. building on S. Centre St., just outside Pottsville, Saturday afternoon.

Hewes said his address is at this building but he stays with a girlfriend elsewhere.

He was picking up debris from the front of the building after firefighters spent a few hours dousing the flames that caused heavy damage to the interior. Only a few char stains can be seen on the brick exterior.

Two vehicles in front of the building were also damaged during the firefight.

The exterior of the historic brick building looks OK but inside, severe damage is visible on the first and second floors. Two vehicles immediately in front of the building sustained minor damage.
The exterior of the historic brick building looks OK but inside, severe damage is visible on the first and second floors. Two vehicles immediately in front of the building sustained minor damage.

Smoke from the building was actually first spotted by Lester Aungst, a Schuylkill Haven firefighter, who was installing a new sign at nearby Pottsville Pizzeria. He said he saw smoke and went to check out its source and then came back to the pizzeria to get someone to call 9-1-1.

During the fight, fire crews were forced to saw through wooden doors covering the garage bay to the former Mt. Carbon Fire Co. building.

A chainsaw is used to get through the former garage bay doors on the old firehouse that's been converted to a residence.
A chainsaw is used to get through the former garage bay doors on the old firehouse that’s been converted to a residence.

Not long after fire broke out at the building, firefighters were ordered to evacuate the building as crews from Pottsville and surrounding areas – including RIT crews from Schuylkill Haven and Englewood – took on the fight from the exterior.

This Pottsville firefighter was on his way up the ladder when horns blared for all crews to evacuate the building. No injuries were reported during the fire response. No one was inside the building when flames broke out.
This Pottsville firefighter was on his way up the ladder when horns blared for all crews to evacuate the building. No injuries were reported during the fire response. No one was inside the building when flames broke out.

Extremely cold air made conditions on the scene rather dangerous. Not only did firefighters have to worry about exposure to the elements, water streaming away from the scene created an icy slick on Centre St.

Traffic was blocked from accessing the area in all directions for several hours while firefighters worked to control the blaze.

Fire heavily damaged the former Mt. Carbon Fire Co. building on S. Centre St., just outside Pottsville, Saturday afternoon.

The incident forced Adelphia Seafood to close up shop early on Saturday. We learned that Pottsville Pizzeria, despite experiencing quite a lull in business for the afternoon, donated food and drinks for firefighters at the scene. Dunkin’, owned by Bowers Donuts Inc., also donated coffee and donuts.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Coalregion12

    January 21, 2024 at 4:08 pm

    Thanks to all firefighters! Special thanks to Pottsville Pizzeria and Dunkin for their donations.

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