The two-alarm blaze broke out just after 4:30 Sunday afternoon on the 100 block of West Moreland Road. That's when five people who were in the Highland Cleaner Laundromat noticed smoke coming from a vent in the rear of the store.
Horsham Township Fire Marshal George Fida explains, "I spoke to five occupants that were doing their laundry inside and they all say the same thing: The fire started in the back of the building, up in the ceiling area - smoke coming out of the vent and spreading quickly from there."
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the blaze. The smoke and flames spread from the Laundromat along a common space under the roof to four other businesses. The owner of Romano's Pizzeria, located on one side of the Laundromat, said he was too upset about the damage to his business to speak with us on camera. John Schuhl, the owner of Foresight Optical, on the other side said he hoped to get back to serving his customers as soon as possible.
"We're going to do our best to have some kind of operations," says Schuhl. "We talked to the landlord, they're going to let us use a vacant store that's here. And we're going to try and do dispensing and appointments and just try and do the best we can."
The Dairy Queen, two doors down from the Laundromat, sustained mainly smoke damage. The owner, David Margraff, said if this had to happen, he was relieved it came at the end of his summer busy season, since it could be some time before the store can get through all the inspections needed for it to reopen.
The exact cause of the fire has not yet been determined.