Icy Conditions Lead to Local Highway Closure

Applewold and East Franklin Township fire crews responded to three accidents yesterday morning along Butler Road within the Borough. The accidents caused Fire Chief Mark Feeney to ask West Kittanning and Kittanning crews to close the roadway. In all, four individuals from the six cars damaged were taken to ACMH. (Photo submitted by East Franklin Fire Chief Mark Feeney)


by Jonathan Weaver

Multiple car crashes along Butler Road in Applewold Borough led to the hill’s closure shortly after 10:30AM yesterday.

East Franklin Township Fire Chief Mark Feeney said Applewold and East Franklin fire fighters got the initial accident call from Armstrong 9-1-1 at approximately 10:28AM.

“We initially responded there, and then East Franklin got called out to a wreck with entrapment along (Route) 422. Applewold stayed and handled (the Butler Road crashes),” Feeney said.

East Franklin fire fighters responded to a crash between the West Hills exit and Glade Run Road along 422, and had to take a door off the entrapped woman’s vehicle to extricate her. The unknown victim was transported to ACMH for treatment.

Back at the Butler Road crashes, Feeney said a total of four individuals were taken by Kittanning #6 ambulance crews to the hospital.

“Four (individuals) out of the six cars,” Feeney said. “There were three different accidents total, eight cars: six had to be towed, two could be driven from the scene.”

Applewold crews were in-service for about two hours on Butler Road.

West Kittanning Fire Chief Bernie Bowser, Sr. said his crews were dispatched by Applewold fire fighters to close the top of the hill with local fire police, while Kittanning Hose Company #1 fire fighters closed Butler Road before the Kittanning Citizens Bridge.

“We shut the hill down at his request to keep the cars and trucks from coming down the hill because that hill was extremely, extremely hazardous,” Bowser, Sr. said.

Feeney said all three East Franklin trucks kept busy throughout the morning, responding to six calls within two hours, including another crash near Center Hill Church of the Brethren and a tractor-trailer that went off Tarrtown Road (with no injuries) .

“A lot of calls – everything was ice,” Feeney said. “Snow you can see and judge to slow down; this was just black ice everyone. You couldn’t even stand on the hill

“We dropped a can (on the hill) and just watched it go like 45 feet – it was just solid ice, like an ice skating rink on that elevation,” Feeney added.

No other accidents were reported within Kittanning Borough or West Kittanning Borough proper.

Three trucks of West Kittanning road crews salted the major streets while fire fighters were busy.

“They kept it safe,” Bowser, Sr. said.

While Butler Road was the only accident ‘hot spot’ in Armstrong County, Route 422 saw significant delays in both directions in Butler County due to incidents

After being closed due to a multi-vehicle crash earlier, PennDOT opened Route 422 East in both directions in Summit Township from Heist Road to Carbon Center Road around noon.

An hour later, crews closed 422 West between State Route 8 and State Route 356 due to an overturned tractor trailer. The roadway was open by 3:30PM.

A multi-vehicle crash in Indiana County, South Mahoning Township, closed Route 210 in both directions.

While firefighters attended to a crash further up Butler Road, Kittanning #6 ambulance personnel responded to crash victims closer to the Kittanning Citizens Bridge. The ice can clearly be scene on the roadway and the ambulance had to chain their wheels. (photo by Paul Tatarko)