Firefighters show they do more than just fight fires
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Summit Hill firefighters, front to back, Jay Lehman, Kevin Steber, and David Sommers, brace wall which firefighters built to protect an adjoining property when a wall collapsed at a residence on Monday.
Yesterday was Labor Day, and the volunteer members of the Summit Hill Fire Company labored as hard as anybody.
They responded to a call that a section of wall of a residence collapsed at 38 W. White St. in the borough.
Seeing that the part of the brick wall which was still standing posed a danger to a neighboring dwelling, they built an eight-foot high, 36-foot long wooden wall to protect that house.
Kevin Steber, a member of the Summit Hill Fire Department, said the decision to build the wall was made "in case bricks fall so they don't bounce into the neighbor's home."
He stressed that the fence was a temporary measure for protection purposes only and would probably not be strong enough if the entire wall collapsed.
A large, upper area of the exterior side wall broke away from the residence of Ken Cathcart, 38 W. Ludlow St. The brick and mortar which fell from the wall piled on a side pavement and crushed a section of chainlink fence which separates the Cathcart home from the residence of Mary Risavy, 32 W. Ludlow St.
Steber said it appears that rain might have contributed to the collapse of wall at the Cathcart home. He said since more rain was predicted, the firefighters decided to try to give Risavy protection.
Ronald Yuricheck, a member of the fire department, contacted Bob Davidovich, owner of Panther Valley Lumber in Lansford. Davidovich opened the store to allow the fire department to get the supplies it needed for building the retaining fence.
Yuricheck, who works full-time at the KME Corporation as an electrician and a trainer for aerial equipment, was in charge of the fence-building project. He said he does wood construction projects "on the side" and is presently in the process of building a deck.
Assisting were numerous firefighters including Steber, Jay Lehman, David Sommers, Jimmy Gaughan, Daniel York, and Ed Nunemacher. Other members of the fire department, including Fire Chief Shawn Hoben and Assistant Fire Chief Len Ogozalek, watched the crew at work. They completed the project in less than an hour.
Long-time fire company members said this is the first time they recall ever building a fence at an emergency scene.
Yuricheck said he felt the fence had to be put up immediately because of the concern that more bricks and roof sections might fall.
Joe Weber, a member of Summit Hill Borough Council, agreed and said it might have been difficult to find a contractor to build such a fence on a holiday. Also, if a contractor would have been brought to the scene, then the bill probably would have come to Summit Hill Borough.
"It's amazing what these volunteers do," Weber said.
"We're lucky ot have them," she said. "They're a one-of-a-kind crew."
Weber purchased hoagies for the firefighters, who spent about seven hours at the scene.