At 4:46 a.m. today, April 11, Upper Moreland police, Second Alarmers Rescue Squad (SARS) and firefighters from several different regional companies responded within minutes after a 911 call was made for a residential fire, according to Upper Moreland Fire Marshal Robert Drennen.
The property, which is owned by Bob Young, is located at 2566 Wyandotte Road in Willow Grove. It stands directly adjacent to Young's landscaping business, Youngscape.
He said that a tenant had called to inform him of the fire around the same time emergency responders were called.
"They did everything they could to preserve the electronics and furniture," Young said of the regional firefighters, who put plastic tarps on the first-floor furnishings as they put out the fire.
Using the regional "Box System," where local fire companies share resources, members of the Willow Grove, Warrington, Hatboro, Horsham and Abington, including Roslyn and Weldon, responded to the fire.
"The whole second floor is burnt up," Young continued.
According to Drennen, heavy damage was sustained to the rear of the house on the second floor, which was used mostly for storage.
Although the investigation is ongoing, Drennen said that the cause appears to be accidental in nature, and may have been due to a malfunction of the second floor bathroom exhaust fan.
According to Reginald Streater, 27, who has been a tenant for the last four years, the house holds four bedrooms: his in the basement, two on the first floor and one on the second floor, which is located toward the front of the house.
All four roommates were in bed at the time of the fire.
Streater said that one of his roommates had awoken him and informed him of the fire, and he immediately called 911. He saw the fire was coming from the second floor, and all four roommates made it out of the house.
According to Streater, UMPD arrived on the scene within a minute of the call, with firefighters appearing shortly after.
He said that the fire was extinguished in less than 10 minutes.
SARS took the roommate on the second floor to Abington Hospital for smoke inhalation. The second-floor roommate was released several hours later.
“It was crazy. Who knows if we had been in there much longer?" Streater said.
Streater, wearing borrowed clothes from a roommate's mother because his were too filled with smoke, came back to survey the damage and see his losses.
He said that his renter’s insurance would help a great deal, but is worried about his roommate on the second floor, who has none.
“Life has to go on,” Streater said. “I have to go to school, I have to go to work full time, and now I have to do this full time.”
Patch will provide updates with the ongoing investigation.
(Editors note: Updated information at 4:14 p.m.)