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Early video: Three-alarms in Ephrata, PA for natural gas explosion & fire at apartment complex.

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Early video from CHRIS HALDEMAN and of a three-alarm fire today at 845 Dan Avenue in Pennsylvania's Ephrata Borough (Lancaster County).

Larry Alexander, Lancaster Online:

Human error caused a gas explosion that destroyed an Ephrata apartment building Friday.

According to Lincoln Fire Chief Randy Gockley, a maintenance man working on a furnace at Garden Court Apartments, 845 Dawn Ave., capped the wrong end of a gas line.

"That allowed gas to leak into the void space between the first and second floors," Gockley said. "He then went to light the pilot light at the furnace, and that ignited the gas, which was up at the ceiling level and in the void space, and created the explosion."

The maintenance man "was very fortunate" that he got out unscathed, Gockley said.

PA Ephrata Dawn Avenue 3 alarm apartment fire

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Fire21

    OMG, I was never so happy to see an aerial stream applied as I was in this video.  I was beginning to think they were saving it for when the second part of the building ignited.  But they fooled me and turned it on early.  I wonder if there was an attempt at interior attack, or was it determined to be too dangerous?

    • Mack Seagrave

      It was over 13 minutes into the video when the tower came out of its bed and over 15 minutes into the video before it started flowing water. BTW, the person who was riding in the right side front seat on the rig that pulled in behind the squirt should be informed that the purpose of having scba mounted in the seat back is to allow the person riding in that seat to be ready to go as soon as the rig arrives onscene. 

  • Mike

    Im at a loss with this one.  Lets see, no established water supply on the way in, crews dragging feet, 1.75" use as intial lines.  Most departments wish they could have that much manpower arrive early, which could've been used a lot more efectively.

  • Anonymous

    Knock the bulk of the exterior fire and get in there!

  • WOW

    wow, about 12 guys per handline, could have gotten bigger lines and many more lines pulled…


    the quirt was sitting there unused, could have gotten that going much quicker……if they parked away the friggin trees…



  • TNFF

    Does anyone lay out the supply hose on the way in anymore?  I dont remember in fire school being taught to arrive on scene, wait fo rthe masses to arrive and then we all hand jack the hose back to the hydrant. 

  • fire

    Going interior on a fire where the second floor collapsed onto the first is the smartest idea ive ever heard. secondly putting an elevated master streamn up into the power lines would be brilliant, and with the airpack deal how are you supposed to put an airpack on when you are legally have to wear a seatbelt. 12 people on a handline is it just me or do i not know how to count. hmmm know what you are going to talk smack about before you look like a complete idiot!