Haverford family's home destroyed by fire

HAVERFORD, Pa. - December 9, 2010

John McAleer lived in the home for 20 years.

Shortly before 2:00 a.m., a fast moving fire started somewhere on the first floor of the East Mercer Avenue house.

John's 15-year-old son, one of four teenagers who lived in the house, smelled smoke, and ran to wake up his father.

"I ran downstairs and attempted to put it out, but it just overcame me. It happened so fast," McAleer said.

Though he suffered minor burns, John, his wife and all of the four children who called the house home got out safely. Their two dogs, though, did not.

To make matters worse, if that's even possible, this family had just this past Sunday done all their Christmas shopping. The presents, all of them wrapped, were inside the house. Now they, too, are gone.

"We had our Christmas shopping and wrapping done. We were ahead of the game this year," McAleer said.

Investigators are still searching for answers as to how the fire began. Action News is told they are focused on trash cans just outside the house, next to a pile of logs intended for a very different kind of fire.

With no place of their own to live, no real belongings left, John, who sells houses for a living, has somehow adjusted his focus.

"You be thankful for that everyone's OK. That's the main thing. We could have lost some lives here and been a real tragedy," McAleer said.

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