Ephrata teacher rushes to the rescue

By on October 31, 2018

Lenny Harding, a Social Studies teacher and assistant football coach at Ephrata High School, typically walks the short distance from his classroom to the football field for practice at the end of the school day.

But on Thursday, Oct. 25, Harding took the day off work to make arrangements for his father’s funeral.

Thus, Harding made the trek from Akron to the high school, at 803 Oak Boulevard that afternoon for football practice and he passed the apartment building located at 177 Old Mill Road. in Ephrata Borough, just a short distance away from the school.

That day, the building was in flames.

The apartment fire, which originated from a second floor balcony of an apartment, was spreading quickly. Harding pulled over and upon checking the back of the building, he realized it was engulfed in flames.

“I called 911 to report it,” Harding said, noting that a few other people had made calls as well. “Then I went around to the three doors in front and banged on them to alert the residents to the fact that their building was on fire. I don’t think any of them had realized it yet.”

After pounding on doors for a few minutes, Harding was able to ensure that the residents of the three apartments were eventually outside safely. By that time, the smoke had gotten so thick that Harding recounted being barely able to see his car through the haze.

“The fire police came,” he said. “I figured I should get out of the way, so I went back to my car and went on to football practice.”

Harding’s quick thinking and timely arrival on a day he wouldn’t normally have passed the building at all resulted in the residents being alerted to the danger at hand.

“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” Harding said.

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