Families displaced after early morning blaze

April 25, 2009 4:17:50 PM PDT
Families in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania are picking up the pieces after a three alarm fire ripped through an apartment building this morning.

Flames destroyed four apartments and severely damaged several others at the Park Lane East Apartments on the two hundred block of Beverly Boulevard.

Fire ripped through building J in the Upper Darby apartment complex in the predawn hours on Saturday.

Multiple units were completely destroyed and others were seriously damaged by fire.

Firefighters rescued two adults.

The rescue happened just moments before the roof collapsed.

The fire alarms worked, but the building is something of a tinderbox.

It took firefighters nearly an hour to control the fire.

"They're all wood construction so we had to get in there pretty fast to get a knock down on it. It was travelling fast on us," Upper Darby Deputy Fire Chief John Hicks said.

Corey Saunders, who was slightly injured, told Action News he believes the fire started in the unit where he was sleeping.

Due to an overnight power outage in the area, Saunders was using candles.

"I did have candles lit?but I do remember blowing the candles out, but I woke up to a blaze, so who knows if the candles were really out or what," Saunders said.

Saunders worked his way through the spreading flames and thick smoke to knock on several doors to alert residents to evacuate.

Resident Andrew Maramba did the same thing.

He lost everything in the fire, but was able to save his wife and children; his daughters are 3 and 9.

At least six families have nothing to go back to.

As per usual, the Red Cross has responded and promised to help the victims in many ways for the next three weeks.

"We're already focused on the six units where people are going to be permanently displaced," Tom Foley of the Red Cross said.

As the victims begin to cope, a helping hand is being extended.

The fire investigation continues.

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