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Crews fought three York City fires Saturday night
Fire crews responded to three separate structure fires Saturday night, culminating in a night that brought out 100 firefighters from all over the county, displaced more than 30 residents and sent three firefighters to the hospital with treatable injuries.
York City Fire Chief David Michaels said Sunday that the night started out with a structure fire at 238 S. Duke St., then a fire reported at 410 S. George St., and then another reported in the 100 block of East Maple Street.
“We had three structures dispatched within a period of 45 minutes,” the chief said.
Fire departments from Dover Township, West York, Red Lion and York Township were some of the departments sent out to assist.
“We’ve had multiple fires going at one time, but something about last night … it’s been some time since we had something like this,” Michaels said Sunday morning.
Busy night: The Duke Street fire was called in about 9:45 p.m. Saturday night. The chief said the fire was intentionally set, from a curtain in the house, and was taken care of quickly. Crews didn't stay long, because about 10:15 p.m., a fire was reported in at 410 S. George St. Michaels said one engine stayed behind at the Duke Street fire, and the rest took off to the next fire.
“We arrived with smoke (coming) from the building; the people were evacuating,” Michaels said.
One person was trapped on the third floor of the apartment building, but firefighters were able to get the man out.
“He initially refused treatment but then went into the hospital,” Michaels said, adding that it was for smoke inhalation, which is common.
The chief said the fire did not spread, but some smoke went into some neighboring homes. The smoke caused some temporary evacuations.
The fire department tweeted Sunday afternoon that the fire was deemed accidental from an electrical issue. Twelve people were displaced, and the fire caused $40,000 in damage. Other than the man who was rescued, two other civilians were injured.
About 15 minutes later, a fire was reported in the 100 block of East Maple Street, affecting seven homes, according to the chief.
Maple Street fire: The chief said the three-alarm fire on Maple Street affected seven different homes in varying degrees.
“The fire was already well-advanced on our arrival,” he said, adding that flames were visible from both the front and back of the homes.
The homes affected go from 148 to 158, but he said the most significant damages was to 154 and 156.
"They're heavily damaged," he said.
This fire sent three firefighters to the hospital, Michaels said, one from York City, one from York Township and another from West York. He said one suffered a muscle injury, and another was treated for exhaustion. Both of those firefighters were released.
Another was admitted for exhaustion.
"That firefighter's been admitted overnight for observations," Michaels said.
No civilian injuries were reported as a result of the Maple Street fire. Two of the homes affected were vacant and marked with an X, meaning they are structurally deficient.
Since multiple homes were affected, the chief said they are still investigating where the fire originated.
The chief said it took them hours to get everything under control, adding that crews didn't clear the scene until close to 4:30 a.m., about six hours after the fire was initially reported.
“Maple Street ... was the worst of the three,” he said.
The fire department said in a tweet that the East Maple Street fire was intentionally set. The fire displaced 22 people and caused $275,000 in damage.
Reaction: On Sunday afternoon, Cassandra Nelson sat on her porch, watching people take things from their homes, now uninhabitable because of the fire. Nelson lives across the street from the Maple Street fire, and she said she "inherited" a hamster from one of the people displaced in the blaze.
"Oh my God, it was insane," Nelson recounted of the night before.
"Every time they got a piece out, (the fire) would start again," she said.
A fire happened on Susquehanna Avenue on Thursday night, which was nearby.
"I literally think someone's setting them on purpose," she said of the fires.
On Tuesday night, Eugene "Boobie" Hillian IV was shot to death on East Maple Street, police have said. Between the fires and the shooting, Nelson said she had had enough and was planning to move.
Willielenne Williams peeked out her front door, watching the aftermath of the fire. Williams, who has lived in the area for 35 years, said she has seen some things such as shootings, but nothing like the fire Saturday night.
"This is pretty bad," she said.
Williams was hooked up to a dialysis machine and said she couldn't see what was going on overnight, but she could hear ambulances and people yelling about their things in their homes. Williams said she was nervous about all the fires recently. She said if a fire would happen at her home, things would be difficult because of her machine. She said she could possibly be taken out of the house, but she would have to immediately be taken to the hospital.
"I'm in trouble," Williams said if a fire happened there.
On Sunday afternoon, people were looking through their homes. In the back of the building, one of the row homes' roof could be seen collapsed.
Long week: The two major fires Saturday night were just two in a number of larger fires the department has dealt with since the weekend before.
On Oct. 23, six people were displaced from an early morning row home fire 623, 625 and 627 McKenzie Street.
“They got there, they had a large volume of fire and heavy smoke coming from the home,” Michaels said the morning after that fire.
About 10 a.m. the next day, nine kids and four adults were displaced in a fire at 600 and 602 Salem Ave.
When city firefighters arrived at that scene, they found the second-floor rear balcony of 600 Salem Ave. engulfed in flames.
It appears that's where the fire started, Michaels said.
There is some damage to the back of both homes, but it's repairable, the chief said at the time.
On Thursday night, the fire department was called out to a structure in the 500 block of Susquehanna Avenue. The duplex affected, 522 and 524, had already experienced an electrical fire in March, and the homes were vacant.
Michaels said when crews got there, the fire was "well-involved" and was causing smoke damage to the roofs of some homes on Wilson Court, which runs parallel to Susquehanna Avenue. Additionally, some of the siding was melting on those homes from the heat. The residents of those buildings were asked to leave while crews fought the fire.
Crews were able to get the fire under control in about an hour.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.