Recent Activities

October 25, 2014

 

Dive-Rescue 77-3 and Boat 77-2 traveled through the Phoenixville Recreation Department's Annual Halloween Parade. Both the driver and the Zombie Princess riding right seat tossed candy to the trick-or-treaters (both children and adults) who lined the parade route. The annual parade affords Station 77 an opportunity to continue to connect with the citizens of our first-due area whom we serve.


 

October 9, 2014

 

Station 77 emptied the Station to travel to the annual Fire Prevention Week Fire Truck Muster at a shopping center outside of Pottstown sponsored by the Norco Fire Company (CC-64). Our 4 trucks and 3 boats participated in a static display among quite a number of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. As with most public relations events we do a highlight of the event was dozens of young folks jumping into Boat 2 and participating in fantasy water rescues.


 

September 13, 2014

 

Team members took Dive-Rescue 77-1, Boat 77-1, Boat 77-3 and Dive-Rescue 77-2 to the Kimberton Fire Company (CC 61) for their annual 'Touch A truck Day' event. Each year the Kimberton Fire Company gathers together their own fire apparatus along with other specialized invited trucks such as tow trucks, tanker trucks, large work trucks, military trucks and the like for several hours where kids of all ages climb in, over, under and around the vehicles to explore what the trucks do and how they do it. As with many of the public relations events Station 77 attends a highlight was kids jumping into our boats to do pretend water rescues.


 

September 3, 2014

 

Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Lionville Fire Company (CC 47) and the State Park Rangers with a water recovery at Marsh Creek State Park in Upper Uwchlan Township. A fisherman had reported spotting what he believed to be a body floating in the lake during a late-night fishing session. Just prior to the response of the Team and apparatus Station 77 was recalled as the water rescue team from Lionville made the recovery via their boat (Boat 47). Incident investigation is now being conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police.


 

August 29, 2014

 

Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Kennett Fire Company (CC 24) with a body recovery. A young male reportedly entered a pond to retrieve a soccer ball, submerged beneath the surface and then failed to resurface. Station 77 was recalled while enroute when Kennett's water rescue team effected the recovery.


 

August 26, 2014

 

Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Black Rock Volunteer Fire Company (MC 99) with a water rescue at the Black Rock Tow Path near Black Rock Dam. Initial reports indicated two subjects had jumped from a spillway wall and one, possibly both, had failed to surface. Upon response of Dive-Rescue 77-1 and Dive -Rescue 77-2 Chester County relayed updated information from Montgomery County that the PD was reporting that both subjects were out of the water. Upon arrival it was found that one subject was injured and required evacuation from a remote location adjacent to the spillway. Boat 77-1 was launched to conduct the operation. Prior to reaching the subject he self-extricated and was placed under EMS (CC Micu 85) care. Also on the scene was Collegeville Fire/Rescue (MC34) with Marine 34 and West End EMS (CC 67).


 

August 5, 2014

 

Team members took Dive-Rescue 77-1, 77-2 and 77-3 along with Boats 77-1 & 3 to the ‘National Night Out’ program held at the Grace Crossing Community Church in Phoenixville Borough. Along with apparatus and personnel from the Phoenixville Fire Department, the Phoenixville Police Department and the Chester County Sheriff's Office the event offered Station 77 an opportunity to show our apparatus and equipment to the citizen’s of the community as well as to continue to educate the public as to our existence and mission.


 

July 25, 2014

 

Station 77 was dispatched along with the Phoenixville Fire Department to a report of a disabled pleasure boat on the Schuylkill River in the general area of the Black Rock Dam. Dive-Rescue 77-1 responded with Boats 77-1 & 3. Upon arrival at the Route 113 Fish Commission boat launch area the Team was advised by the PFD OIC to stage as there were reports of the pleasure boat being towed to shore by other boaters. The Team prepared Boat 77-1 for launch in the event that the good Samaritans encountered a problem. A short time later the disabled boat was towed to the launch area, it was confirmed that no one required any further assistance, and all responding units were made available.


 

July 19, 2014

 

Station 77 was dispatched along with the boat from the Black Rock Volunteer Fire Company (MC 99) to assist the Phoenixville Fire Department with the evacuation of a victim of an unknown medical condition from a popular swimming area along a remote part of the Schuylkill River. Phoenixville Police officers who were first on the scene had advised that a land evacuation was not recommended due to extremely difficult terrain, steep drop-offs and darkness. Dive-Rescue 77-1 responded with Boats 77-1 and 77-3 followed shortly thereafter by Squad 77 and Boat 77-2. Command was established by the Assistant Chief of the PFD at the Route 113 boat launch owned by the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. Boat 77-1 was designated by Operations as the primary rescue boat while Marine 99 was designated as the safety boat. Both boats proceeded about 1 mile up river to a remote landing area where land crews from Station 65 (PFD) along with a crew from MICU 83 (Royersford Ambulance) had packaged the victim for transport. The victim was placed in a stokes basket and transported back to the staging area on Boat 77-1. The victim was then turned over to Trappe EMS (MICU 85) for on-scene treatment and transport to Phoenixville Hospital.


 

July 9, 2014

 

The Team returned to conclude checking the secondary search area. Several strainers and areas of piled-up debris were checked by divers while our underwater search camera was utilized in several areas deemed too unsafe to dive. Once again nothing was found. The Team has now stood-down pending further investigation by the local police department.


 

July 8, 2014

 

The Team was requested by the Phoenixville Fire Chief to contact the Phoenixville Police Department regarding a possible water search. Information had been received by the PPD from two individuals who stated that while they were swimming at an area along the Schuylkill River they believe they came across indications of a submerged body. The Team mobilized and ran a shore search and an underwater search of what the individuals reported to be the primary search area adjacent to a railroad bridge. Nothing was found in the area. A check of a secondary search area was begun but was cut short due to an fast-approaching severe thunderstorm with associated lightening strikes. Station 77 was assisted by the boat crew from Black Rock Volunteer Fire Company (MC 99).


 

May 18, 2014

 

The Team once again traveled to three different locations in Chester and Montgomery Counties in support of the Pennsylvania Fish Commission. At all three locations – boat access ramps maintained by the Commission and a hazardous stretch of the Schuylkill River – the Team placed marker buoys designed to maintain safe control over recreational boating in the area. The Team also set buoy markers downriver of one of the locations to mark the safe channel passage through a very dangerous rocky river bottom. This event has now become one of our yearly events geared towards promoting safe boating in recreation areas within our designated primary response area.


 

May 17, 2014

 

In what is a yearly event for Station 77 the Team participated in the annual Dogwood Parade. The event is sponsored by the Phoenixville Jaycee's. Our participation allows us to showcase our apparatus and personnel to our home community. All four vehicles, the dive trailer and two boats traveled the parade route once again this year. And as has become tradition, children of active Team members went through the parade riding in the boats (with parental supervision).


 

April 30, 2014

 

After a multi-hour period of heavy rains in the area Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Kimberton Fire Company (Station 61) with a vehicle stranded on the flooded roadway on Clover Mill Road off of Route 113. Dive-Rescue 77-1 with Boat 77-1 and Boat 77-3 and Squad 77 responded only to be recalled moments later when the radio room reported that the local police had assisted the victim with self-extrication. As the heavy rains continued Station 77 was then dispatched back to the same location for a person stuck in a vehicle in deeper, moving water. Dive-Rescue 77-1 with Boat 77-1 and Boat 77-3 again responded. After re-positioning for better access Station 77 personnel went in service with Boat 77-3, two rescue swimmers and a tethered shore crew to extricate the victim and return him to dry land. As the heavy rains continued to pound the area Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Black Rock Fire Company (MC Station 99) with a water rescue in their local. Finding the most direct access (the River bridge underpass at Starr and Bridge) flooded out and impassible Station 77 re-routed to Route 113 North for the response. Prior to arriving on location Station 77 was re-called as Black Rock effected the rescue with their own Marine unit. A short time later, as the rains continued, Station 77 was dispatched to Bridge and Church Streets to assist the Phoenixville Fire Department (Station 65) with a victim stranded in a car with water reported up to the roof area. Once again Dive-Rescue 77-1 with Boats 77-1 and 2 as well as Squad 77 responded. Upon arrival the victim was witnessed in the final stages of self-extrication. Station 77 personnel assisted her safely out of the water. Just as Station 77 was about to secure from the scene a female was heard yelling for help. Further investigation revealed a disabled person stranded in a house with flood waters filling the basement and rising. At the request of the Phoenixville Police Department Station 77 personnel began evacuating residents from one home and two apartments. Utilizing Boat 77-3 and rescue swimmers a total of nine individuals were removed to dry land. During the operation a transformer in the area blew plunging the entire area into darkness. A short time after securing from that call Station 77 was dispatched to assist the Valley Forge Fire Company (Station 68) with a vehicle stranded in high water at Potthouse and Whitehorse Road. Upon arrival two occupants were observed in a vehicle with water up to the windows. It was reported that one of the occupants recently had hip replacement surgery and was not very mobile. Station 77 personnel went into service with Boat 77-3, four rescue swimmers and shore crew personnel backed up by water-rescue qualified personnel from Station 68. The victims were subsequently brought back to dry ground and turned over to EMS (Trappe - Station 85). By that time the rains had begun to subside. Station 77 remained staffed by two water rescue crews throughout the night but no further calls were received.


 

January 15, 2014

 

The Team was dispatched to assist the Royersford Fire Department (MC 98) with a vehicle submerged in the Schuylkill River. The vehicle was in an area where foot access was made most difficult by dense vegetation and a very steep river bank after floating down river a good distance from where it apparently originally entered the water at a municipal boat launch. Boat crews from Linfield Fire Company (MC 51), Black Rock Fire Department (MC 99) and Liberty Fire Company (CC 63) had already been dispatched on the alarm, located the vehicle and verified initially that it appeared unoccupied. However, due to the vehicle being mostly submerged, unstable and in swift water they were unable to verify conclusively that no victims were in or directly around the vehicle or to ascertain ownership information from the surface. At the request of the FD Command our personnel employed our underwater cameras to verify that the vehicle was in fact empty and that no victims were found in the immediate surrounding area. Then at the request of the PD Command the cameras found that the vehicle had no registration plate and that other ID markings were possibly removed. Divers were then employed but were unable to locate any positive ownership information without entering the unstable vehicle, including by cutting the windshield to attempt to get to the vin plate on the dash from outside the vehicle. With all efforts yielding no results Unified Command decided that divers entering the vehicle to seek further ID was not a safe action to undertake at that point in the operation. And so a large loader vehicle was brought in by the Township which dozed a path from the road to the river and then was used to extricate the vehicle from the river via chains attached by our divers. After a multi-hour joint operation the vehicle was finally removed from the River and turned over to the local PD for further processing.


 

January 1, 2014

 

In what has now become a New Year's Day tradition the Team once again traveled to Pottstown Borough to provide water safety services to the Pottstown Recreation Department for their annual "Polar Bear Plunge". With a water temperature of 38 degrees and an air temperature of 33 degrees a hoard of brave souls shed most of their clothing as well as their sanity and plunged into the Schuylkill River. With assistance from our sister team, Telford Diving Unit, water rescue personnel in boats, on shore and in-water established a safety area around the plunge site ready to aid any participants in distress or who required assistance in exiting the river.