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Mayday audio & video: Mother & child believed dead at Lancaster, PA house fire. Two firefighters hurt trying to make rescue. Lt. Andre Kelley, critical but stable at burn unit.

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Fireground audio from FirefighterDispatch

Audio and video above from alertpage of a fire this morning in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that left two firefighters injured who were trying to rescue a mother and six-year-old girl trapped in the rowhouse on Madison Street. The firefighters were injured during a flashover. Lt. Andre Kelley is in critical but stable condition and Firefighter Tom Benders has been treated and released.

 The video below is from Glenn Usdin at sellfiretrucks and FireTruckBlog.com and the video at the bottom of the post is from lancasteronline.

Cindy Stauffer & Ryan Robinson, LancasterOnline.com:

The two firefighters were injured as they were fighting the fire on the second floor and it “flashed over,” (Lt. Ken) Wright said.

Firefighter  (Lt.) Andre Kelley was in critical but stable condition after being flown to Crozer-Chester Medical Center for treatment. He was rescued by his fellow firefighters. Wright said he suffered second-degree burns. The son of a retired city firefighter, Kelley has been with the city fire bureau for more than 10 years, and was honored in 2004 for helping with a rescue in the city.

Firefighter Tom Benders, who was able to get down a flight of stairs and out of the house, was treated for injuries and released. 

Firefighters were continuing to search for the woman and child today.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Fire21

    May FF Kelley and FF Benders receive excellent care, and quickly recover from their injuries.

  • John Coleman

    Good work by FF Bender. I hope that FF Kelley has a speedy recovery. Was it just me or did it seem like their was plenty of help on scene and it was a long before any water was flowing. As you can see it is risky to search without a charged hose line. My thoughts and prayers to the victims of this fire.

  • Warning1

    That is a very graphic audio tape – beware

  • Jim

    I hope the two brothers make a full recovery and are back to duty soon. Good on them though, they went in and tried. Real firemen that’ll push in to try and rescue trapped civilians, even though it might be scary or dangerous inside. I’d work with guys like that any day. Even more, I’d want them working in my neighborhood.

  • glenn usdin

    I’m the deputy chief of a neighboring fire company and I was at this fire. The Lancaster Bureau of Fire, like many other career departments across the USA, has had their manpower reduced over the years, and their on-duty staffing for many shifts is down to 8-9 people. With that many people, arriving at a working fire with confirmed entrapment, there are only so many tasks that can be done at one time. I did not speak with the on-duty crews, but I assume that they went right into search and rescue mode, and delayed the handline to try and get to the victims. As others noted, the Lancaster Fire Bureau is known as a very aggressive and strong interior outfit. They had another working fire on Saturday morning with many of the same crews working. Someday municipal officials will understand that when you cut fire crews, you reduce their ability to complete all of the necessary tasks in a timely manner.

    • Steve in NJ

      Well said sir. Well said.

  • M. Chase

    I am a member of FF Kelly’s family and I wish him, and his crew a speedy recovery. From the audio, there did seem to be a delay in search for victims and downed FF personnel.

    • Mark too

      I did not get that same impression of there being a delay. The firefighters injured were in the process of searching for the victims when they got in trouble and as soon as the MAYDAY was called, the IC directed “Engine 2″ to assist them. Now there may have been some delay in getting enough personnel to assist them, but that would likely be the product of not having enough personnel on scene at that moment. I got the impression that the MAYDAY occurred rather early in the operation since the RIT companies were arriving after the calling of the MAYDAY. As such, with possibly only 8-9 FFs on scene and 2 of them “down”, there wouldn’t be much in the way of “available” personnel to send after them until the RIT arrived.

      • glenn usdin

        you are correct.
        the mayday occurred about 5 minutes after the companies arrived.
        as unions and many fire chiefs have been warning for years, you can only do so much with limited manpower.
        if they arrived with 8-10 people and 3 of them were injured and the rest were working to rescue and tend to the injured, who is left to fight the fire?

        • Mark too

          Exactly. I work on the other side of the state in a department with staffing of 5-7 on-duty. We do a pretty good job despite this, but I’ve often said that the most dangerous time period of our fires is the first 10-20 minutes due to exactly what happened in Lancaster. Limited personnel on scene and a catastrophic event before the cavalry arrives doesn’t mix very well.

  • Captain Retired NJ

    Deputy Chief Glenn Usdin,

    Politicians that actually care or understand the role of the firefighter are few and far between. The on duty staffing of 8-9 personnel is just short of criminal negligence. Hoping that both firefighters are okay.

  • Steve in NJ

    Chilling audio. Best wishes to all the brothers involved and prayers to the family of those lost in the fire.

  • Nick

    It sends chills down my spine listening to this and being from the area.

    And the first RIT truck truck 204 arrived after the Mayday was called. The audio here has dead space cut from it and therefore there is not as clear of a timeline. However the firefighters were down prior to RIT being there and from the sound of it only three pieces were on the scene at the time of the Mayday, that does not leave many people left to try to get the downed firefighters out.

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