Monday, October 01, 2007

Tragedy Strikes Delaware County (PA) Firefighters…Again!

Firefighter Dies Of Injuries

Sharon Hill, PA (October 1, 2007) --A young Sharon Hill, PA volunteer firefighters has died of injuries sustained during a firefight in Delaware County, PA. Officials say that 19-year-old Firefighter Michael Regan, a volunteer firefighter who was working part time while attending school, was seriously burned and hospitalized in critical condition.

He died from his injuries Friday afternoon at Crozer-Chester Burn Center. Four other Ridley Township firefighters were seriously injured in that blaze – a garage fire – when a brick wall suddenly gave way and the wooden, trussed roof gave way.

Meanwhile, Parkside firefighter Chase Frost, 21, remains in critical condition with burns to more than half his body. During an August 11th fire, Frost and his partner entered a burning apartment building when the second floor collapsed, pinning Frost for 15 minutes. “He laid in the debris baking like a potato,” one Delaware County Firefighter noted.

In a report published by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sharon Hill Chief Bill Benecke, 40, described the garage collapse.

“It looked like it was out, and then that quick it collapsed on them," He heard a swoosh as the garage's doors and a beam collapsed, then saw fire everywhere, he said.

Densely populated Delaware County, PA is served by 70 volunteer fire companies and 1 career department (City of Chester). With the number of volunteers in Pennsylvania dwindling to record low numbers, these companies rely more and more on one another –p a concept know as mutual aid response. They also rely a great deal on college students and younger members.

In Sharon Hill, there are 40 active volunteers on the books and 200 past, active members. In order to serve as a frontline firefighters the company maintains a strict policy that new members complete the 186 hour state Firefighter-1 certification.

The last Delaware County firefighter who died fighting a fire was also from Ridley Township. William Caber was 21 when he died battling a house fire in the early morning hours of April 15, 1977.


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