Storm may be to blame for 3-alarm DelCo fire

LANSDOWNE, Pa. - July 25, 2010 Police and fire crews received the call of a blaze at around 4:00 p.m. at Wildman Arms Condominiums on 80 West Baltimore Avenue.

Resident Tony Renkievicz knew he didn't have much time as his neighbor's couch was fully engulfed in flames.

"It was hard to believe how her couch could be on fire like that," Renkievicz said.

When the firefighters arrived, they began evacuating the residents.

"People weren't leaving, they were just looking and coming down and looking at her unit as it was on fire and smoke filled," Renkievicz said.

"I didn't want to go down, my son had to force me to go down. I was really, really scared," resident India Harris said.

Bud Cook told Action News that some fellow residents needed to be rescued.

"It was thick enough to worry you and people were getting trapped on the floors because of the heavy smoke," Cook said.

Cook watched as firefighters raised the ladders and tried to rescue those trapped on the upper floors.

"They had a ladder up trying to get a guy out of the window and smoke was coming out," Cook said.

Lansdowne police say five residents and two firefighters were taken to local hospitals with minor injuries.

"The fire company came in, from what I understand it, they put a good stop on it, they held it to one apartment with some smoke and heat damage to maybe another one or two apartments," Chief Dan Kortan of the Lansdowne Police Department said.

Responders got a break from the oppressive heat when a heavy storm moved in late in the afternoon.

Investigators don't yet have a cause, but they are not ruling out the lightning.

"We are now trying to get the scene cleaned up, we're trying to figure out who's going to be displaced at this point and where we're going to take them until we can find a long term solution for them being displaced," Kortan said.

The Red Cross tells Action News at least 110 people are displaced.

The Red Cross has provided accomodations for around 20 people. The rest are staying with family and friends.

There is no word on when residents will be allowed back into their homes.

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