Weisenberg Volunteer Fire Co. has open house
Freebies, food, games and a fire that filled the sky with black smoke were all part of the recent open house presented by the Weisenberg Volunteer Fire Company.
Fire company helmets for kids, Frisbees and booklets on home fire hazards and another one with fire safety stickers filled a table along with a note saying they were free.
Bill Buss poured free soda for visitors, and outside, Otto’s Lunch Box of Fogelsville, cooked hot dogs, also free.
“Can we have more than one,” a man asked and was told he could have as many as he wanted. Raffle tickets were being sold for 32 baskets.
Allentown Fire Department brought its Kid’s Safety House and the Cetronia Ambulance Corps was also on site. Music was provided by Steve Cebenko.
Outside the fire station, a single room of a house had been constructed and furnished to demonstrate how quickly a fire can burn down a house.
Chief Brian Carl said fires burn a lot faster and hotter with the new materials being used in construction.
“Wind conditions can work against the firefighters,” he explained.
Their “house” had 2-inch by 4-inch studs and smoke detectors. And, there were curtains on the window.
No accelerant was used to speed up the burning.
Deputy Chief Billy Wolford started the fire in a corner behind the sofa at 12:54 p.m. and an automatic fire alarm called 911.
Carl told visitors gathered around the demonstration that firefighters have to head to the fire station from their homes whether it is day or night.
“We are volunteers,” he explained.
Within three minutes, the first firefighters have arrived and were getting suited up.
For the homeowner whose house is burning it seems to take forever but is usually only 7 to 8 minutes.
Carl said homeowners should close all doors because it cuts down on the oxygen available to feed the fire.
Visitors could feel the heat from a 100 feet away at five minutes. Kids became excited when they heard the siren signaling the fire engine was coming.
Carl warned everyone to get out and stay out of a burning building.
“Don’t return for something you forgot,” he said.
The first thing firefighters do is make sure everyone is out and ask if anyone is inside the home.
At six minutes, the water was spraying from a hose handled by Cole Wendling and Andrew Goodalf. Since there are no hydrants in rural areas, the firefighters bring their own water in tankers.
By the seventh minute, the fire is up inside the walls but water is putting it down. Clouds of black smoke are pouring skyward. Carl pointed to the farmhouse across the street and said that would burn more slowly because it is made of heavier wood and has plaster walls.
He said the water can cause more damage than the fire as the weight of water pulls drywall down.
Volunteers are always needed and people can join the company as junior firefighters at age 14.