BRADFORD TOWNSHIP – Numerous crews battled a massive warehouse fire Wednesday night at Walker Lumber Co., in Bradford Township.
The initial dispatch was received at approximately 9:30 p.m. at 148 Tipple Ln., Woodland, and firefighters operated on-scene until the early-morning hours Thursday.
State Police Fire Marshal Russell Stewart says the fire originated in the boiler room at the rear of the warehouse, which sustained an estimated $1 million worth of damage. The owner, Nicholas Ince of Wexford, Pa., did have insurance.
Fire officials – via scanner transmissions – related that a part of the structure collapsed while crews were working on an interior wall and firefighters became trapped. A mayday was declared and additional resources were requested for rescue efforts.
Using rescue spreaders and hydraulic rams, crews were able to extricate one firefighter – a member of the Hope Fire Company in Philipsburg – whose lower extremities were pinned under the rubble.
The firefighter was transported by ambulance to the Mount Nittany Medical Center. He has since been released and is currently recovering at home, his fire company posted in a Facebook update.
A second firefighter sustained an arm injury. He was also taken to a local hospital for medical treatment, fire officials say.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined at this time, and the investigation is still ongoing.
According to its Web site, Walker Lumber has a reputation for being “one of the finest hardwood lumber-producing companies in Pennsylvania.”
It sells strictly wholesale in truck-load quantities to distribution, manufacturing and industrial segments. It ships both domestically (coast-to-coast) and for export.
Its products include kiln-dried lumber, green lumber, pallet material, veneer logs, saw logs and bi-products. All lumber is produced through its sawmill and dry-kiln facilities in north-central Pennsylvania.
According to its Web site, Walker Lumber currently produces a total of 8 million board feet, of which 4.5 million feet is kiln-dried, annually.
It manufactures 4/4 through 8/4 thickness’, and its species mix includes red oak, white oak, hard maple, soft maple, cherry, ash, hickory and poplar.
Walker Lumber has locations in Woodland, Holidaysburg and Pittsburgh. The Woodland location is home to the sawmill, six dry kilns and main office. Part of its lumber production from here is what fuels its other two locations.
Walker Lumber has deep roots in the lumber industry that date all the way back to 1897.