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Raw video: Man shoots video of fire at father-in-law’s home in New Sewickley Township, PA.

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Larry Musgrave shot the video above of a fire in his father-in-law’s home yesterday afternoon in New Sewickley Township, Pennsylvania (Beaver County). The video below has shots of the rear of the home.

Kristen Doerschner & Amy Hansen,

Fire-fighters from a dozen local departments worked to battle a blaze at a New Sewickley home Wednesday afternoon.

Big Knob Fire Chief P.J. Moldovan said the fire at 998 McElhaney Road, which began just after 3 p.m., was contained after about an hour.

“From what I can tell it started from a chimney flue in a wall of a bedroom,” Moldovan said.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    I hope there is more to this story than what we see. Plenty of equipment, plenty of people and even plenty of water but apparently no Firefighters! A roof is designed to shed water! Please go in and get it! Even the photographer knows they are screwing the pooch!

  • Eric

    “Raw video: Man shoots fire at father-in-law’s home in New Sewickley Township, PA.”

    Really, Dave? I had to read it twice because my first instincts was that a man shot another firefighter while trying to fight a fire…poor title. And yes, sometimes people call the fire department “Fire” such as other public safety agencys.

    • dave statter

      I fixed it Eric. Someone else thought he was shooting fire (like a flame thrower). Sorry.

      • Eric

        Thanks, it was a bit confusing at first! Guess we’re just so used to reading worst case scenario headlines now days…

  • Fire21

    I watched it for several minutes and decided if no-one was going inside to attack the fire (external application all the time that I watched), then the building was going to burn down. I didn’t need to watch that.

    But as usual, I’m sure there were things happening that we can’t see. I did hear them mention reloading supplies, so perhaps that was the reason for defensive operations.

  • Anonymous

    What a poor display. Why did these guys even bother showing up?

  • Unreal

    Ugh!! Fire is suppose to come out the vent holes!! DO NOT PUT IT OUT. GO INSIDE AND PULL THE CEILINGS.

  • Blue

    @ 4:30, I really hate seeing ppl wearing a freakin’ traffic safety vest under an SCBA, the vest’s are not approved for firefighting at anytime.

  • 2w5

    Sure looks like a porch roof on “B: side easy to access with ground ladder cut a hole and apply water from the unburnt side into the addic space.

    • He

      2W5,,,,I agree 100%

  • 8truck

    Cranberry Fire is a fairly aggressive dept so it amazes me they didn’t try to convince the IC to “go get it”. Looks like they were only called for defensive operations. Don’t know much about the other companies down there.

  • Panthermedic

    Welcome to Western Pennsylvania firefighting. These same tactics are seen all over Alleghany and Washington counties

    • Anonymous

      That is a very unfair asumption to make about western pa firefighting. There is the good bad and ugly no matter where you go. Could they do things different? better? Yes, but as a progressive firefighter that has traveled to this area its unfair to judge all of the area as a whole.

  • http://msn retiredinsc

    Sad they just stood around and watched it burn, very sad

  • SFC

    The video was painful to watch.

  • Captain Retired NJ

    No interior attack, no excuse. Sad to see this happen especially with all of the personnel milling around.

  • 95%er

    checklist for firefighting:

    nice rigs…check
    nice gear…check
    nice equipment…check
    nice vests……check
    nice water……check
    nice strategic and tactical plan for interior firefighting…not available

  • fireguy

    13 minute video of guys soaking the roof. I usually have a ton of faith in Vollies, but theres 50 guys standing around watching a house burn..Comical! Oh and why is there a ladder there with no one one it? Could it of hurt to actually put a guy on it and put water on the fire, not the roof and the adjacent lot?

  • D. Schaefer

    Another one bites the dust, an engine and truck could have handled the job. So sad to watch this.

  • TNFF

    Lots of work went into setting up RIT but why do that when no one is going in to fight the fire. Poor display of firefighting. The videographer did state there were acetylene bottles on the basement, but this was an attic fire. At least all the firefighters, engines, and tankers looked pretty. I wish we could have 2 dozen firefighters on a scene to just stand around.

  • Harvey

    Sad to say, all they’re missing is a park bench?!?

  • downsouth

    I remember reading a story about a homeowner suing his fire dept for burning his house down. Think this guy has a pretty good case!

  • Retired Chief

    black coats, yellow coats, white coats, tan coats, vests, beards, guys standing around not doing anything. Looks like a circus.

  • IDLH

    What I find funny is guys talk tough about western PA firefighting and you have multiple companies operating and they are accomplishing nothing but destroying the remainder of the house. Why bother showing up when it really is just for show.

    • 8truck

      It’s hit and miss on this side of the state. With no training requirements in PA what do expect? A lot of the depts over here still think it’s a social club.

  • Former Chief

    Not Stockton.

    • JustSayin’

      Sad but true, F.Chief.

      On the bright side, they are not that FD on Staten Island (NY)
      who sent 7 to 8 FFs to the hospital while operating
      at a 2-alarm, unoccupied house fire…

      So maybe these Brothers in PA are more right than wrong …

      • Rescue5Squad

        Its not un-occupied until we prove it is. IMO its mentalities such as yours, that have created this circus enviroment in the fire service, that we call “safe”.. Your ok with Stockton being aggresive because no one got hurt. But god forbid someone gets hurt performing the same actions, and you have a problem with it?

        But if you want to believe that this circus is right, as opposed to wrong, because “no one got hurt”, then thats your prerogative.

        • JustSayin’

          Please allowing me to begin by thanking you, R.5.S, for allowing me to have an opinion.
          It’s unfortunate that you failed to comprehend it. Please forgive my fault … the subtle presentation.

          For those infrom Rio Linda, I at no time agreed, validated supported nor encouraged all the actions presented in the video. I was making a point about extremes and finding a balance. Too far one way and we see this “circus”. Too far the other way and we see FFs injured, burnt, dead.

          ie: Aggressive, mas-macho buffoonery with 7 to 8 injured FFs
          vs. a yard circus with no one injured.

          Balance, R.5.S … It’s about Balance…
          I was supporting intelligent, professional firefighting where we complete our mission without sending Brothers to the ER/Burn Ward/Morgue. As often exampled by Stockton.

          • Anonymous

            Now that I absolutely agree with. I guess I struggle with the double standard in todays fire service. My example would be the “Firehouse Heroism awards”. I read every one. Just like I read every NIOSH report that applys to us. Alot of fireman get awards for valiant efforts searching a head of a line in hight heat, or searching alone, etc. When these said fireman make grabs, there heros. But when one does the same, but the outcome is different, they end up on FFClose calls for being wreckless?!? You hit the nail on the head with “Balance”. The fire service isnt so Black/White as some think. IMO the “Grey Area” is the inherent part of our job.

  • OldCityCaptain

    All posts before me hit on the poor/non-existant work at this fire, so I will just say……COME ON MAN!!!!!!

  • FLFF

    Wow… a fire dept. full of Outside Specialists!

  • CLT_Ff

    Wow, nothing to be proud of here. The fire is vented, go inside, pull ceiling and put it out. Very poor performance…

  • OH MY

    WOW, Please tell me that a crew was attempting to pull the ceiling and extinguish this fire and that was a 30 man RIT outside. If not, I sure hope for the sake of the New Sewickley Twp. Fire Department and Chief Moldovan that the insurance carrier for the homeowner doesn’t see this video and the department’s workman’s comp carrier with all of the full beard SCBA users.

  • Scott

    I agree totally. Defensive for an attic fire? That deck gun was making it worse. Maybe they know more than we know but it didn’t look very good from our angle.
    Too many guys on the scene for doing nothing.
    Not impressed at all.

  • Mike

    Please tell me what training manual teaches these tactics? I would take this video right to an attorney.

  • jon

    i am a huge advocate of bring the deck gun into play as a means to put a quick, hard knock on a fire prior to interior operations. this ain’t that. there is a ready-made lawsuit here. gross incompetence.

  • Agates1272

    There has to be some kind of rational explanation for the sheer stupidity and gross lack of firefighting tactics we see here. The only thing I can guess is that the IC was concerned about the antique firearms and reloading supplies that the son in law and father in law were discussing early in the first video. Not to mention, in my experience, “antique collectors” also tend to be hoarders, so maybe those were the two determining factors behind this abismal display of firefighting. I would love to hear from a FF that was on this scene…

  • HMMMM??

    Anyone here the guy early on state that the one room is full of reloading equipment? that usually means gun powder and the one FF replies yeah they know about it… Ever consider that the IC was concerned about that room blowing up or some kind of danger caused by the reloading stuff? IDK just a thought.

    • mark

      Yup, heard it.

      But this IS a case where the fire stream will push fire into unburnt sections of the house, because they aren’t hitting the seat of the fire.

      There is a better chance of explosion because of what they are doing rather than in the “attempt” (and I use that word very loosely) to extinguish by deck guns.

  • FIRE CHIEF retired

    After my 53 years in the fire service I’ve only ever seen two houses burned to the ground with an attack like this and THIS is the second one. Not a good plan! {8^(

  • slackjawedyokel

    5 million dollars worth of equipment -not a nickles worth of training

  • Lloyd MacIntosh

    Wow… it’s never good to be critical, but my oh my sometimes they just make too easy. I was surprised at the number of firefighters and it didn’t appear that anyone was making an interior attack. It certainly looked doable. Does anyone know of any circumstances or information that would have prevented an interior attack?

  • Anonymous

    This story gets 36 comments and the story about the 3 alarm fire in Maryland gets two. Hmm. Not too hard to figure out what this site is all about, Maryland/DC nuthuggers.

    • dave statter

      What is interesting about that observation is that there was a time that almost and PGFD story would get lots of comments. Much more than almost any topic. You weren’t the only one to note that it appears things have evolved a bit.


  • Mike

    This site typically draws a lot of comments regarding incidents with poor performance or mistakes being made. If there was a clip of DC/PG fire with that type of scenario it would get plenty of comments. But the difference between those dept’s and PA/NJ vollies is they know what their doing

    • HMMMM??

      Excuse me are you suggesting that firefighters and fire companies from PA don’t know how to fight fire? Thats a horrible generalized assumption at the least. There are over 2500 fire companies in PA and I can guarandamntee you that the majority of them know how to fight fire and can kick ass any day of the week against anyone from the maryland etc. Problem is that a majority of the bad companies have these type of fires and get publicity bad publicity and give the rest of the states fire companies and firefighters a bad name. So next time before you go talking trash about PA and its firefighters remember that there are just as bad of companies and incompetent leadership in maryland and DC as well so what color is that kettle pal? Thats right you probably have kentland envy..

      • think before you assume

        Thank you!! thats exactly what i was thinking. As a western PA volly and LT in the neighboring county of this fire i can add that there is huge diversity even within our county. Generalizations like that just show how undereducated you are. Theres a lot of us that have complete opposite tactics as shown.

  • Andrew

    Kick in the back door there, take a 1 3/4″ and a couple ceiling hooks, and blow that fire out the roof. Problem solved.

  • Anonymous

    this is poor firefighting! where i come from it is go in and get the fire not burn down a perfectly good house. oh yeah also safety vest inside a burning house (which doesnt look like they went in anyways) will melt and cause more damage to your gear!



    • Frank Miklos

      In reply to RECYCLED CHIEF Yes only around 25% of the residents do donate but the firefighters do not have a book to show who donated or not… And most of our house fires are to non donating houses. It is very sad though that the majority of the residents do not donate… On the more important note about this fire is all fireman came home, no one hurt.. We will never put a building ahead of someone’s life…

  • JW


  • Anonymous

    Well iam very glad to all the men went home and not the hospital houses and belongings can be be replaced a father or brother can not them house would be knocked down and rebuilt anways i am sorry the people lost everthing but that is what insurance is for from what i know of the new sewickley fire dept they are a great group of well trained men. Chief moldovan knows his shit if he did not attack it aggressive enough he had his reasons if you dont like it to bad everyone can monday night quarterback if you werenot there


    Ah the Monday night quaterback brotherhood. Again critizism from the experts which weren’ t on scene. To critize a departments action being determined by a 13 minute video, at what time was that video shot, and what actions, did IC make prior to, or after, the end of the 13 minute video. Let me take you into some training :what was staffing on first incoming Engine, experience level of those on board, was anyone determined to be in structure or were residents accounted for? A good IC will look at these questions, yes 1st Engine crew did attempt interior operations, but was forced out by intense fire, yes crew did put water through vent on side B porch roof but was unable to get water across full length of attic area due to antiques stored in attic, yes tower was set up from adjacent road to side D and knocked down fire in attic area, yes crews did re-enter and pulled down ceilings in whole house for overhaul. Most important fire was confined to attic area and room of origin where chimney came from basement into 1st floor bedroom. Things to remember most Pa fireman are volunteers, and damn good ones! Yes, we are sorry to see this family suffer a loss, no fatalities reported. Secondly all fire personal reported back to their loved ones, no injuries or fatalities. I think its time for alot of us to think before making erratic decisions, that could possibly affect another one of our brothers possibly getting injuried or worse not coming home. To all departments JOB WELL DONE, and most of all EVERYONE WENT HOME.

  • funnywhacker2013

    Lets think about it this way everyone criticizes someone for something that they feel they could have done better. Truth is a 13 minute video doesn’t portray what actually happened afterwards. Everyone has there own method to visualize how they would have handled the situation. Unless you were there, your opinion is your opinion, but my opinion is for having an initial 2 man team on the first incoming engine unable to properly hit the fire due to construction of the house and the fact the second crew couldn’t vent the A side of the structure, the only accessible area due to location, I feel they did a great job. Also consider the fact that the tower was not setup after water movement was successfully setup, which occurred roughly 20 minutes into the fire, once again, under the circumstances, I feel they did a great job. So, everyone who has negative comments, or feels they could have done better, that’s great but, don’t judge it from a 13 minute video because unless you were there you shouldn’t criticize it from a 13 minute video. All that matters is that everyone came home safe and yes, it’s sad he lost his house but for them containing it to the attic I think they did great. Thanks

  • Big Mose

    A note on the positive side…………. They had one very good water shuttle operation set up. Too bad the rest of the operation sucked.

  • 989 Neighbor

    A classic case of You call me to your fire call – i’ll call you to mine. We won’t worry about taking care of business. Just remember I called you to my fire. Between Big Knobs, Cranbery & Zeliople they love getting together to brag how great they are kinda…. On a serious note, Maybe us residents of New Sewickley
    need to go to a supervisors meeting to ask questions about the officers qualifications ?


      To 989 neighbor I know for fact that the doors to the fire department is always open I beleive that if call the Fire Chief he would be more that glad to set up a meeting to answer your concerns.

  • Hattman26

    Well said thinking 1st. I was first in on interior attack in attic. Fully involved. Life safety 1st. We tried. 20yrs training. So don’t judge a 13min video

  • Anonymous

    you guys where there there was a crew inside fight it till half the roof came in