5 injured, including firefighters, in East Norriton blaze

January 23, 2013 9:51:20 AM PST
Conditions have been treacherous, particularly for firefighters trying to put out burning properties overnight. In one fire in Montgomery County, water from the hoses had people slipping and sliding all over the place.

The fire broke out just before 1:30 a.m. on the 3000 block of Whitehall Road in East Norriton. Seven people were able to get out of the home before firefighters arrived.

The flames were fierce and already heavy when crews got to the scene. Firefighters were also contending with the extreme cold.

The runoff from the water used to fight the fire created a sheet of ice around the scene. Crews spread salt on the ice in an attempt to improve the conditions, but the ice was thick, and it still is.

Five people suffered minor injuries. Three of the injured were occupants who were hurt trying to get out of the home. Two firefighters also suffered slip-and-fall injuries because the sheet of ice.

Not only did the ice pose problems for the firefighters, but the road will remain closed, even after crews clear the scene.

Norriton Fire Department Chief Jim Staufenberg explains, "The ice is so thick up near the fire scene, that we're probably going to have to bring plow trucks in to remove that ice. So, until the township feels satisfied that the road is safe enough for vehicular traffic, it will remain closed. It could be open sooner than that. It's definitely going to be closed through the morning rush."

There was a delay getting water due to the extreme length of hose firefighters needed to run and problems with the hydrant.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.