Story Summary

2 missing following 4-Alarm row home fire in Lancaster City

Crews battling massive fire

 

Two people are missing and feared dead and two firefighters were hurt during an early morning row home fire along Madison Street in Lancaster.  The fire heavily damaged the house and trapped two people inside their second floor bedroom.  Two firefighters who went inside the home to try and rescue the trapped people were hurt.

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The Lancaster Bureau of Fire is re-evaluating its procedures after an independent report into a deadly house fire in February.

The February 18 early morning fire at 225 E. Madison Street killed Pauline Stone and Leilani Roman, 6, and injured three firefighters, one of them critically.

The tragic fire left many asking what could have been done better to possibly save lives and protect firefighters.

A 32-page report is the result of months of investigating by two retired, independent veteran firefighters the city hired to look into it.

The two men collected firefighter interviews, dispatch and radio recordings and fire bureau records to come up with the report.

It points out 22 issues and offers recommendations to fix them. Some of the issues included communication breakdowns, firefighters failing to properly assess the risks to themselves before taking action and the need for more training across the board.

“It confirmed some of the things that we understood occurred during the fire that there were some mistakes made and there were some things that we can do better and when I say we, I mean both the firefighters and also the administration,” said Rick Gray, Lancaster Mayor.

Kevin Ressler, IAFF Local 319 president, said he’s focusing on the positives of the report, which at first, wasn’t easy for him to do.

“No one like to hear bad things, but that went away pretty quick, it was then, ‘What can we do to better this situation?’” Ressler said.

Ressler said city firefighters would welcome more training.

“You’re always learning, training, trying new things,” he said. “So if you keep that in mind, it’s not that hard to put it in perspective and say, ‘Use this as a tool to get better.’”

The study cost $15,000 and came out of the fire bureau’s budget. You can read the full report here.

Mayor Gray is forming a committee of firefighters and city administrators to review the report together and see how and when they can implement each recommendation.

Lancaster City firefighter Lieutenant Andre Kelley was badly burned in a fire back in February. Kelley was injured during a house fire trying to save a woman and a six year old, who both died in the fire. Monday,  a motorcycle ride  was dedicated to the Kelley family. Riders headed to Gettysburg for a re-dedication of the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial decided they would dedicate the ride to Kelley. Their goal was to raise money for his family.

“They go out, they put their life in, when common sense says danger, they go into the danger, and occasionally they get hurt, when they get hurt we need to make sure we`re taking care of them properly,” says Noel Wenrich who took part in the ride

Since the fire, the city of Lancaster has rallied around the Kelley family with many fundraisers knowing that every little bit helps. Kelley is now home, and his family and friends say he’s ready to get back to work.

After being severely burned and spending months at rehabilitation centers, Lieutenant Andre Kelley finally got to go home Wednesday.

“It’s a great day for us today. We’ve been waiting for and looking forward to this day for a long time,” said Lieutenant Kelley’s father, Marvin Kelley.”

Lieutenant Kelley left a rehabilitation center in Lancaster County Wednesday morning and was escorted by a full motorcade of firefighters from various departments. He arrived at his home to a crowd of cheering people. In tears Lieutenant Kelley made his way through the crowd hugging everyone in sight.

“Today is obviously the best day we’ve had since that fateful morning on February 18,” said Captain David Longenecker with the Lancaster City Fire Department.

Back in February Lieutenant Kelley was trying to rescue a woman and a 6-year old girl, but he got trapped in the process. Sadly the woman and girl died, and Lieutenant Kelley suffered burns to 45% of his body.

“We all bear some emotional scars from it, but Lieutenant Kelley obviously bears the physical scars, but he will recover. He’s a very strong individual. He’s a very good fire officer and even with all the best instincts and all the best training some days things go wrong,” said Captain Longenecker.

Lieutenant Kelley will be recovering at home and going through therapy with hopes of returning to the job he loves.

“He wants to get back out there and that gives him a lot of hope,” said Marvin Kelley.

The family is thankful for all of the support from the community.

“The fire department they’ve come in they’ve done some home repairs, to make it easier for him to have access to the house. The schools pitched in, they were bringing meals when we were out of town with Andre. People didn’t just ask they really came through,” said Lieutenant Kelley’s stepmother Stacy Kelley.

Benefit ride
A motorcycle ride to benefit Lancaster city firefighter Lt. Andre Kelley will be held on Memorial Day, Monday May 27.

  • The ride will leave the Lancaster Masonic Center, 213 West Chestnut Street., at 9 a.m. and travel to Gettysburg.
  • At 11 a.m. the Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial will be rededicated.At 2 p.m. a Memorial Day parade will be held.
  • Riders will depart to return home at 3:30 p.m.

Cost
$20 per bike, $5 for each additional rider.

Local News
05/09/13

Fundraiser for Lancaster firefighter

A fundraiser Thursday night for a Lancaster firefighter badly burned in February. Lieutenant Andre Kelley was injured during a house fire trying to save a woman and a six year old, who both died in the fire. He suffered burns on 45 percent of his body. Kelley had been at Crozer-Chester Medical Center recovering, and as of last week he was transferred to a local rehab center.

Since the fire, the city of Lancaster has rallied around Kelley with many events. Thursday, the Lancaster Brewing Company held a free event to benefit his family. Everything was free, from the food to the booze. All they asked was that you donate what you could.

“I just felt it was time to help our brother Andre through his struggle. His wife has been with him down at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, unable to work so this was a great way to raise money and offset their expenses,” says Pat Egan , Chairman, Lancaster City Fire Foundation

Kelley’s family and friends say despite what he’s been through , he plans to go back to work.

“Tough times don`t last but people do. Andre told me he wants to be back so I think he`ll be back,” says Samar Rudolph, Lancaster City Bureau of Fire

February 18, 2013 was a difficult day for the Lancaster Bureau of Fire.

A raging fire on the 200 block of East Madison Street killed two people and injured three firefighters, including Lt. Andre Kelley, who was burned on more than 40 percent of his body.

As Lt. Kelley recovers at Crozer-Chester Medical Center just outside of Philadelphia, someone is trying to make a quick buck off of his heroism.

Several people have reported receiving phone calls about a couples dance to benefit the three firefighters.

They say the person demanded credit card numbers for payment, something Lt. Kelley’s uncle Dennis Perry said city firefighters would never do.

“You have to have to a serious character flaw to try and take advantage of people’s kindness during this tragic time,” said Perry, who is also a Lancaster firefighter.

Over at Clipper Magazine Stadium, The Lancaster Barnstormers have several legitimate fundraisers planned for their April 18th home opener to support and Lt. Kelley and his family.

“We’re going to take a portion of every ticket sold under the  Lt. Andre Kelley link on the website and direct it to the family,” said Tony DeMarco, a Barnstormers’ Vice president.

There will be t-shirt sales and firefighters will pass around boots to collect donations.

Lt. Kelley’s two children will throw out the first pitch as well.

Perry said Lt. Kelley could be home in as early as several weeks.

He has a message for everyone who’s been there for his nephew, the fire department and his family.

“Just want to thank the community for being there to support us during this tragic time,” Perry said. “We definitely value the love and affection that they’ve showered upon us, both monetarily and just with their deeds.”

To buy tickets for the Barnstormers’ home opener to benefit Lt. Andre Kelley, click here.

Lancaster firefighters union IAFF Local 319 is also sponsoring two other upcoming fundraisers:

A concert featuring John Michael Montgomery is scheduled for April 28th at the Lancaster Convention Center.

You can buy tickets here or at any Family Owned Market.

A magic show is planned for May 18 at Lancaster Mennonite High School.

lancastercityfire

A fire that killed two people and injured three firefighters in Lancaster City on Monday has been ruled accidental, authorities said. Flames broke out in the basement of a row home located along the 200 block of East Madison Street around 4 a.m.

Pauline Stone, 39,  and her niece 6-year-old Leilani Roman both died in the fire.

Investigators may never know what sparked the blaze.  Extensive damage to the structure made finding out what exactly caused the fire extremely difficult, said Trooper Dustin Shireman, a state police fire marshal.

Local News
02/21/13

Lancaster SPCA reunites fire victim with lost dog

A bittersweet moment in the midst of tragedy, as a Lancaster man who lost his sister and niece in a gut-wrenching fire, is reunited with his sister’s dog on Thursday morning.

The Stone family had been looking for the dog, named Bella, since the fire on Monday morning.

“Come here girlie! That’s her! That’s her!” said William Stone, Jr. after seeing Bella for the first time in three long, difficult days.

The man and dog, two survivors of a tragic house fire, two survivors who desperately needed each other.

The overwhelming sadness in the dog’s eyes mimicking the same in the man’s eyes.

“She knows, she knows she lost her mommy,” Stone said.

The fire killed Stone’s sister Pauline Stone and Leilani Roman,6, a little girl the Stones loved and considered their niece.

Monday morning, as the fire raged, was the last time anyone saw Bella.

“She was going to go back in, but I caught her,” Stone said. “She followed me back out, then we couldn’t find her. But I had to find her.”

Lancaster County SPCA Founder Susan Martin was hoping for a miracle.

Family members had called the shelter every day since the fire, looking for the dog.

They even gave Martin a picture, so she could identify Bella if she was brought in.

“The first thing I said is before it even got out of the car was, ‘I know the dog! That’s the dog from the fire!’” Martin said.

Lancaster Police Officer Juanita Martinez-Bender had no idea what precious cargo she was carrying when she picked Bella up on a stray dog call and dropped her off at the SPCA.

“It just brings joy to you. Knowing that you can, that you participated in giving someone back something that was lost and it makes you feel good,” she said.

“That’s why we’re here,” said Martin. “We don’t just take stray dogs. We’re also here to reunite dogs with their owners.”

No one on this earth is more grateful for that than William Stone.

“I lost my niece, she’s an angel,” he said. “I lost my sister. At least I’ve got something that belongs to her.”

When Ofc. Martinez-Bender found her, Bella had a cut on her body and had to be checked out by a vet.

She is expected to be okay and the Lancaster County SPCA is covering her medical bills.

Local News
02/19/13

Community mourns Lancaster fire victims

A State fire marshal is still investigating the cause of Monday’s fatal house fire in Lancaster that killed a little girl and her caretaker. Meanwhile, family and friends mourn the victims and support the firefighters that were injured.

A memorial in front of the house on the 200 block of East Madison Street continues to grow. Sandra Santos and her daughter were just two of the many people who stopped by to pay their respects to Leilani Roman, 6, and her babysitter Pauline Stone.

Santos had a connection to the little girl.

“She was related to my grandson, so to me, she’s family,” Santos said. “It’s sad. I feel like it was one of my losses.”

Though Santos only met Leilani a few times, the six year old definitely left an impression.

“She was a very intelligent, smart little girl. Very sassy,” she said. “Asked a lot of questions all of the time. ‘What are you doing here? How you doing? Where are you going?’”

At Lancaster’s fire stations, things have also been tough. Three firefighters were injured. Firefighters Tom Bender and Craig Robertson were treated and released. But Lt. Andre Kelley remains at Crozer-Chester Medical Center were severe burns.

“We are a smaller fire department, so we know each other,” said Kevin Ressler, Local 319 President. “We know a lot about each other and when someone gets hurt, you’re upset and just thinking about them.”

Though the victims’ families have praised firefighters heroic efforts, it’s difficult to ease the anguish the department is feeling.

“It eats at you when you’re not able to rescue those people, so it’s kind of a double-edged sword, you appreciate the family appreciating what we did, but you wish more could have, a better outcome,” Ressler said.

Neighbors are in the process of coming up with different ways to raise money for the victim’s families. As soon as we know those details, we’ll bring them to you.

Lancaster Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 319 is accepting donations for Lt. Kelley.

Make checks out to:
Andre Kelley Fund

Send to:
Attn: Andre Kelley Fund
PO Box 1235
Lancaster, PA 17608

Local News
02/19/13

Names released in deadly fire

The Lancaster County Coroner released the names of the two people killed in a fire Monday on East Madison Street in Lancaster. 39-year-old Pauline Stone and her niece 6-year-old Leilani Roman both perished in the fire. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

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