Inferno: How did it spread so fast?

August 14, 2008 8:55:29 AM PDT
What was a centerpiece of the revitalization of the Conshohocken area is now gone and the big question people are asking is how did it go so fast.

Developer Brian O'Neill says right now his first priority is to get 200 hotel rooms for residents who were burned out of their homes in the massive 8 alarm fire.

The fire started in an apartment building that was under construction and its fire protection features had not been completed yet.

Montgomery county public safety director Thomas Sullivan says it has not been determined yet how the fire started, but he said the building was like a lumber yard.

Fire officials say the fire produced tremendous amounts of heat which radiated to the attics of the neighboring buildings which are managed by Buzzutto developers and quickly got ahead of firefighters.

Sullivan said there were some water supply issues that hampered the fire fighting efforts.

There were other factors that impeded the firefighters efforts. This is a former industrial region that does not have modern firefighting infrastructure.

It is also wedged between two railroad tracks which made it difficult for firefighters to get to. In fact, they had to cut down fences to get close enough to fight the blaze.

O'Neill says the damage is in the tens of millions of dollars but added he has full insurance and will rebuild.

We spoke to the contractor who installed the insulation. He said the building was up to code and well built. The investigation continues.

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