Quakertown, PA Homemade Plane Crash, Jun 1980
PLANE CRASHES THROUGH ROOF; PILOT, 1 OTHER DIE.
Quakertown, Pa. (UPI) - A small, homemade airplane crashed through the roof of the Milford Square Fire Co. station in a heavily populated residential area of Bucks County, killing the pilot and his only passenger.
The firehouse, located in Milford Township off Route 100, burst into flames.
Killed were WILLIAM HENRY SPINELLO,
49, the pilot, and THOMAS RALPH GALLO, 49, the passenger.
No one in the station was injured but it was "gutted" by the flames, said a state trooper.
Four local fire companies helped Milford Square firefighters douse the blaze.
The craft took off from Quakertown Airport, and engine failure apparently caused the noontime crash of the plane, which had been constructed from a "kit," police said.
Federal Aviation Administration officials were investigating.
Three volunteer firefighters were in another part of the building when the plane crashed through the roof of the firehouse's banquet hall and burst into flames.
They said they heard a crunch. Then June Meas, wife of the firehouse's janitor, ran in and told them of the fire.
After first rushing to the untouched kitchen with small fire extinguishers, the firefighters opened the banquet hall doors and saw flames.
"Looks like our number wasn't up today," said Mike Wachter, one of the firefighters. "You're talking to three lucky people."
Fire Chief Ken Engleman estimated damages between $150,000 and $200,000.
The plane's burning engine rolled under the company's only fire truck, melting much of it. The craft's wings were bent back and the hole in the roof was only about six feet wide.
Galveston Daily News Texas 1980-06-23