Thomasville firefighters recognized after propane fire

Christopher Dornblaser
  • Nine firefighters were recognized at the Jackson Township supervisor meeting on Tuesday.
  • They were honored for their actions during the tanker fire in November.

On Nov. 16, a propane truck crashed and overturned in the area of South Lake Road and Jackson Square Road, prompting a 28-hour burn of the truck and an evacuation of surrounding homes.

Charles Riley Jr., a firefighter for Lincoln Fire Co. in Thomasville, was among the first  responders at the scene, where he and two others helped get the driver out of the overturned truck to safety.

Riley helped pull the driver up the hill that day.

"It took a lot out of me," he said.

Riley and eight others were recognized Tuesday night at the Jackson Township board of supervisors meeting.

"I'm just now understanding how big this is," Riley said after receiving the award.

Recognition: On Tuesday, board vice chair David Brown and state Rep. Seth Grove, R-Dover Township, praised the responders.

Brown said had it not been for the firefighters, the township would have been in trouble.

"(It) could've been catastrophic for the township," he said.

Fire from propane truck crash finally out

Fire Police Capt. Terry McCandless Sr., Dennis Chilcoat,  Ryan McNeil and Shane Shaffer, all from Lincoln Fire Co.; Justin Havis, from North Eastern EMS; Kerry Lease and Corey Lease, from East Berlin Fire Co.; local resident John Miller; and Riley were given certificates of recognition and commendation by the board.

Grove gave them certificates from the state. He said he knows a lot of them would say they were simply doing their jobs.

"I think it's great to be recognized for that service," Grove told them at the meeting.

Fire company: Riley's father, Lincoln Fire Co. Chief Charles Riley Sr., said he was proud of his son, who he said was kind of "following in his footsteps."

As for the fire, the elder Riley said the fire company couldn't take all the credit, because many surrounding fire departments assisted with the blaze.

"It probably was one of the biggest we've had in recent memory," he said.

The chief said responders were at the scene of the fire for 28 hours.

"It was a long day for a lot of departments," he said.

McCandless, who has been with the company for 40 years, was there for the entire 28 hours.

"That's a first ever," he said.

McCandless said he had to cut the truck driver out of his vehicle during the blaze.

"He was upside down," McCandless said.

McCandless agreed with Grove's statement, saying that, for many responders, incidents such as this one are all in a day's work.

"We train for it," he said.

He said they had trained for incidents like that in March 2016, so the procedures were "fresh" in their minds when the propane truck crashed.

The chief  was happy that his department was recognized, but he, too, said it was part of the job.

"It's what we do," he said.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.