WHITEMARSH TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — A fast-moving fire killed one pet and displaced over two dozen residents at an apartment complex in Whitemarsh Township, Montgomery County on Tuesday morning. Crews were called out to the Sherry Lake Apartments on the 1800 block of Butler Pike, around 9 a.m.
Residents were forced to evacuate from part of the complex as a fire ripped through their building.
“Grabbed the dog, grabbed some medicine for my mom, grabbed the insurance papers and out the door we went,” Michael Owens said.
Firefighters got the call around 9 a.m. and arrived within minutes, safely evacuating all the residents and rescuing all but one pet caught in the heavy smoke. As they attacked the fire in the frigid cold, the flames quickly spread.
“We got two hand lines in service pretty quick and tried to make an aggressive attack,” Spring Mill Fire Company Chief Bob Shoemaker said. “They were met with heavy fire on both the first and second floor.”
Half of the roof on the Norwalk building collapsed before crews were able to get the fire under control. In total, 16 units were damaged and 25 residents were displaced.
No people died but one pet passed away from the fire. One person received treatment at the scene for smoke inhalation and one firefighter suffered a non-life-threatening cut.
SEPTA provided a comfort bus to keep people warm in the subfreezing temperatures outside. The Red Cross and Red Paws organizations are helping several people that lost it all.
“So we have a big team of people here working with the residents to determine what their needs are,” said Sophie Kluthe with Red Cross Eastern Pennsylvania. “We are going to be helping people who need it with lodging, somewhere to sleep tonight.”
The Red Cross says they’re providing housing for eight people tonight.
Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire and the cost of the damages.