Teen injured in multi-alarm fire in Norristown

Watch report from Action News
January 4, 2014 8:40:30 PM PST
A 17-year-old jumps to safety as firefighters battle a blaze that damaged several homes in Norristown Saturday night.

Officials say the teenager was transported to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia after jumping from the burning home to safety. There is no word on the extent of his injuries.

The fire broke just after 2:30 p.m. at 268 East Minor Street. Crews arrived to find heavy smoke and flames from the second and third floors.

The flames moved quickly before crews got it under control.

"The fire did extend to the rest of the row of 7 homes, so we have 7 homes that were actually damaged by fire," said Norristown Fire Chief.

Lynsay Jones discovered the teen on the ground moments after he jumped to escape the afternoon blaze, and stayed with him until paramedics arrived.

"I asked what happened, and he said, 'I just jumped out the third floor window.' So I took my coat off and laid it on top of him. He wasn't bleeding or anything. I guess he was covered in soot," said Jones.

A family member tells Action News the injured teen lives with his mother and sister. The sister was home at the time, but made it out safely through a door. His mother was reportedly around the corner at a store.

Neighbor Joanne Willis said she had to run to safety.

"I'm thankful I'm alive," said Joanne Willis.

Neighbors woke the grandmother, who lost her cat in the escape. Her grandchildren are devastated.

"The whole house is messed up everything is gone," said Willis.

"We are all emotional," said Lanashe Kent. "Who would've thought the New Year just came in?"

Willis joined more than a dozen of her neighbors at a Red Cross Shelter before getting placed in a local hotel. At least 7 families are out of their homes after the fire wiped out the block.

A SEPTA bus kept firefighters warm while they fought the multi-alarm blaze. The temperatures made fighting this fire especially difficult.

"The challenges are monumental," said Chief O'Donnell. "For one we have crews that are operating in slick conditions and icy conditions, navigating streets that are partially plowed, so we have our work cut out for us."

One other resident from the 7 homes was transported the hospital to be check out because she was bed ridden, but officials say she has no injuries.

Fire officials say 7 buildings were heavily damaged, and 19 people are out if their homes.

The Red Cross has been called in to help the displaced residents with shelter.

After the fire was out, crews returned to salt the roadways that iced over from the water used to fight the fire.

The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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