By Oren Liebermann
EMMAUS, Pa. (CBS) – The fire at a three-story apartment building in Emmaus fought back for hours before firefighters were finally able to douse the flames.
Now begins the cleanup and the mourning. Four people died in the Sunday afternoon fire (see previous story).
“Bobby’s lucky to be alive,” said Erica Henningsen, whose friend, Bobby Taylor, escaped the flames. “We’re sorry for Maria, and it’s sad. It’s a tragedy.”
Maria, Taylor’s girlfriend, died in the fire. Taylor works at a nearby McDonald’s, where word spread quickly.
“One of my managers did see him last night,” said Jackie Grube, General Manager of the McDonald’s. “[He is] physically fine, mentally not fine. He’s pretty devastated.”
Grube says Taylor has worked at the McDonald’s for eight years. His long-time girlfriend, Maria, would often stop by.
“Maria was great. Smiled all the time. They were a great couple. He did everything for her. They adored each other. It’s tragic. It’s just so sad,” Grube said.
Witnesses say they heard two explosions less than a minute apart soon after the fire started. The force shattered windows in the burning home.
Brooke Woomer got out of her first floor apartment moments before she heard the first boom.
“It was just horrible, and all the people that passed, I stayed up last night and prayed for them,” Woomer said.
Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire. They also have not identified the other victims, pending positive identification.
The Red Cross is helping five adults and two children who were displaced by the fire.