9 rescued after apartment building fire in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania

Monday, February 6, 2023
9 rescued after apartment building fire in Drexel Hill, Pa.
Firefighters were called out to fight a two-alarm blaze at an apartment building in Drexel Hill, Delaware County.

DREXEL HILL, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Nine people were rescued and 15 people were displaced after flames tore through an apartment complex in Delaware County Saturday night.

The fire was reported just before 9 p.m. at the Llanerch Place Apartments in the 3200 block of Township Line Road.

"That's my apartment completely torched. Ceiling knocked in, three holes throughout my ceiling, walls all knocked in. (I) lost everything," said resident Joshua Lafferty.

Only the second weekend in his new home, Shan Wilson will have to find a new place to live, but he says he's one of the lucky ones.

"I have somewhere to go, my father lives not too far from here, but there's a lot of people displaced," said Wilson.

He and other tenants would find an unlikely refuge in a neighborhood bar.

"We found out, talked to police, they said listen, 'These people are outside in the weather with the fire, you know. They got nowhere to go.' I was like, 'Fine, let it happen then, let it happen. Just try to keep dogs maybe in vestibule or something,'" said Stephen Morris, owner of Craig's Tavern on Township Line Road.

He said at one point they had seven dogs and two cats inside. They made sure the residents were warm and fed because that's what community is about.

One fire victim was hospitalized in critical condition, and officials say three others drove themselves to the hospital.

Saturday night's freezing temperatures added yet another challenge to the firefight.

"The cold weather plays a major factor in that we're actually stretching water lines that can freeze. Once you put water on the fire and you have water drain out of the apartment buildings, that can freeze," said Upper Darby Fire Chief Derrick Sawyer.

Officials tell Action News the initial cause of the fire was someone smoking.

Two apartments were destroyed in the blaze and several others sustained heavy smoke and fire damage.