On December 21, 2013, drivers on Route 61 near Shoemakersville were surprised to see a burning man running across the road.
Robert Geisinger, a worker for Wolfe Dye & Bleach Works, Inc., was working alone in the pump house when he tried to use a lighter to light an acetylene torch. There was a small explosion which caused a flash fire. The 47-year-old’s clothing ignited. Geisinger dropped his tools and ran out of the building and in to the road where he was tackled by a passing motorist. The motorist threw Geisinger into a snowbank to put out the fire.
First responders from the Shoemakersville Fire Company came to the scene. Geisinger had burns on his head and upper body. The Hamburg resident was taken to the burn unit at Lehigh Valley Hospital, near Allentown, by medical helicopter. He was admitted to the hospital in critical condition.
As fire officials were working with Geisinger, they noticed smoke coming from the pump house and called in a fire alarm. Crews were able to contain and put out the fire within 20 minutes, but the plant suffered significant damage.
This was the third fire at the fabric-bleaching plant in the last four months. The pump house where Geisinger was working was being rebuilt after a November 4 fire. The cause of the November fire has not been identified and is still under investigation. An August 13, 2013, fire caused $3 million in damage to the processing and finishing building. That building is also being rebuilt. The August fire was blamed on an electrical malfunction.
Company president Andrew Wolfe declined comment.
The Pennsylvania workplace attorneys at Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo, P.C., would like to wish Mr. Geisinger a full and fast recovery.