Editor’s note: Initial reports were that this incident happened at the Eagle Stream Apartments, further investigation found the home explosion and fire were at the Eagle Stream Townhouses.
EAGLEVILLE Pa. — Explosions led to a massive fire in the Eagleville section of Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County Thursday. Several townhomes were set ablaze, gutted and charred. Several families have been displaced.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Center City Hit-And-Run Leaves Woman In Critical Condition, Police Say
A coroner’s van has been on the scene, but it’s unclear if investigators have located the homeowner’s body in the rubble.
Otherwise, everyone Eyewitness News spoke with said he was reserved but nice.
Shots from Chopper 3 show you how intense these flames are at this house fire in the Eagle Townhouses in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County.
Police say a code enforcement officer responded to a residence on Cardin Place for a follow-up inspection. For what, we still don’t know.
Police then say the man pulled out a gun on the officer, who was able to escape.
When police showed up, they say the man retreated back into his house and a short time later there were large explosions coming from the home and then a fire began to erupt, leveling the two homes on either side, including the one belonging to Imane and Elsayed.
Their teenage daughter was babysitting her two younger siblings when the explosions happened.
“She called me and said, ‘Mommy, something happened.’ When she got the dog from the backyard, she hears something dropping and bumping, she didn’t know what happened. I just told her, get out. She got out without shoes,” Imane Lofti said.
They credit Officer Barnshaw with the Collegeville Police Department for helping to rush their children to safety.READ MORE: 'This Is What We Do In A Small Town': Mullica Hill Residents Continue Recovery Efforts Weeks After Tornado
Other close neighbors were also evacuated.
“We are trying to locate the individual who may or not be inside the residence,” Lower Providence Township Police Chief Mike Jackson said
Neighbors were told to shelter in place for much of the afternoon as multiple law enforcement units remained on scene. The fire was extinguished by 6 p.m. and by 7 p.m., a coroner’s van arrived.
As for the man who lived next door, both Imane and Elsayed agreed they didn’t know him well but, “he’s a very nice guy. If your car broke down he tried to help,” Elsayed said.
Their opinion now is split.
“Either way, I feel sorry for him because you never know what’s going on with him,” Elsayed said.
“I don’t know, he tried to kill my kids,” Imane said.
Imane says her neighbor should have known that any fire would spread.
Police have not confirmed if the man’s body was found in the rubble of the site.
This was not the first time that officials had been to the property, according to police.
This was a follow-up visit by a code enforcement officer. They did not detail the reason behind the visits, but according to neighbors, the homeowner was known what you might call a hoarder.MORE NEWS: New Jersey Man Credits Keeping Mind Active As He Celebrates 105th Birthday
One other person was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.