Fire victims pick up the pieces

August 15, 2008 9:09:18 PM PDT
The fire chased 375 people from their homes and many of them met with apartment managers Friday night. Fire investigators have told Action News that acetylene torches being used by workmen sparked the 8-alarm fire in Conshohocken.

The workmen were removing decorative window balconies from an apartment building that was still under construction and the flames quickly spread to two occupied buildings next door.

Tenants of building 2 and 3 are going to be allowed to move back into their apartments Sunday.

The apartment management company is replacing door locks and getting smoke detectors back up and working

Residents of buildings 1 and 4, however, will not be able to move back and will learn what they have left on Monday.

After emerging from the closed door meeting at a West Conshohocken hotel, Michael and Gina Kochanski were all smiles.

"We're in the best case of a worst case scenario, let's just put it that way," Michael said.

This is because all of their belongings may be salvageable.

Nicole Anetunucci, a young mother, however, was not so fortunate. She spent Friday afternoon outside her home begging anyone who'd listen if they'd help her find her missing cat and treasured memories of her father.

"I have letters in there. My father passed away, I have letters he wrote me when he was sick and they are all in there, I want those and I want that cat; that's all I want," Nicole said.

Finally, a man who has been working at the scene decided to help. He gingerly navigated the largely demolished unit.

After about an hour, Nicole's husband arrived with a bag.

While their cat is still nowhere to be found, Nicole did recover a box of photos and letters from her father.

"I would love to get his name because nobody would do anything, this is the first guy to do anything, so amazing, amazing, amazing heart," Nicole said.

There have been rumors that the apartments have been looted. The management company and police say that's not true and a security team is in place to protect the property.

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