2 dead, 1 injured in Hatfield Township house fire

Friday, May 12, 2023
2 dead, 1 injured in Hatfield Township house fire
Two people were killed and one person was injured in a house fire in Hatfield Township, Montgomery County early Friday morning.

HATFIELD TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Broken windows gave a view of a burned-out first floor at a duplex home in the 2800 block of Washington Lane in Hatfield on Friday morning.

The damage is the result of an early-morning fire that claimed two lives.

The victims were 63-year-old Leenabahen Patel and 78-year-old Ghanshyam Patel. Fire officials say they were trapped in second-floor bedrooms as heavy fire burned on the first floor of the home.

The victims share the same last name, but they were actually in-laws and parents of the homeowners.

"(The male homeowner's) father and his wife's mother passed away," said neighbor Mohammad Khan. "It's sad. I'm sorry to hear that news."

Firefighters were dispatched to the home at around 4:30 a.m. Dispatchers warned first responders that the house was "fully involved" in flames. Six agencies responded to the emergency call.

A third person was also injured. He was transported to the hospital. His name has not been released. As of Friday afternoon, his condition was unknown.

Md Islam, who is also a neighbor, was awakened by the fire.

"I see smoke all over the place," he recalls of the moment.

"(The flames) melted the vinyl siding and all the windows were out, and I said, 'Wow it was worse than I thought,'" said neighbor John Amey.

Firefighters worked quickly to knock down flames on the first floor. They then set about the task of trying to rescue the victims from the second floor.

Firefighters took one victim down the stairs. They got the other out through a window and used a fire ladder that was outside the window.

Both victims were transported to Jefferson Lansdale Hospital, but neither survived.

A loved one tells Action News that they both died of smoke inhalation.

The other three people who lived in the home made it out. So did Mohammad Khan who lives on the other side of the duplex home.

"I wake them up and get out," he said. "And police say don't go back."

The fire is startling to neighbors of the close-knit community

"It is a very friendly community and everyone helps everybody here," said neighbor Md Shahidul Khan.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire. They believe it started on the first floor.