Details Released in North Main Street Fire

House fire coudersport

North Main Street home of Wurst-Smith family catches fire on hottest day of year

COUDERSPORT – Authorities have released details in the fire that destroyed a North Main Street home in the Borough of Coudersport on Friday, July 22.

Sweden Township Chief of Police Bryan Phelps, also a member of the Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department, was the first to arrive at the scene, responding to the call from the Borough Office in Coudersport.

In a news release, Phelps said he requested a second-alarm assignment upon passing the Citizens and Northern bank and seeing a temperature reading of 102 degrees. Fire Departments from Galeton, Austin and Roulette were then dispatched to assist Coudersport.

Phelps said upon arrival at the scene he confirmed the residents of the home were out and safe at a neighboring house.

Two engines from Coudersport Fire then came in and began suppressing the fire. North Main Street was soon shutdown by Boro Police and PEMA was notified of the situation.

Tower-9 then came in and set up in the road in front of the Smith’s home. Firemen then began an interior attack through the front door of the home.

At just after 4:11 pm, a third-alarm was issued, with Genesee and Port Allegany called to assist. Those fire personnel aided Coudersport once on scene.

With the extreme heat making it dangerous and difficult to fight the blaze, fire personnel set up rotating shifts, utilizing a rehab area with cool draft and hydration stations.

A female EMT was later taken to Charles Cole Memorial Hospital for treatment of heat exhaustion.

At 7:30 pm Phelps declared the fire under control, with extensive overhaul yet to be performed.

During the course of the fire, personnel were called out for numerous other incidents, including two wildfires and several medical calls. Personnel from neighboring Shinglehouse had to return home for a wildfire there.

In all, eleven total fire departments responded to the scene, including  Coudersport, Roulette, Austin, Galeton, Port Allegany, Shinglehouse, Emporium, Eldred, Genesee, Ulysses, and Smethport. In addition, the following departments were on standby: Saint Marys, Portville, Eldred, Bolivar, Whitesville, Clymer, and Wellsboro.

Coudersport Borough and State Police also assisted at the scene.

The home of James and Marlene Wust-Smith, which was insured, was declared a total loss. The family is currently staying with relatives.

Phelps said an initial joint investigation between he and Coudersport Borough Chief of Police Lee Gross, determined the cause of the fire to possibly be electrical in nature.


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