3-alarm house fire claims man's life in Collingdale

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Deadly house fire in Collingdale
Deadly house fire in Collingdale: Vernon Odom reports on Action News at 4 p.m., February 21, 2018

COLLINGDALE, Pa. (WPVI) -- Authorities say a 3-alarm fire that consumed a Collingdale, Delaware County home early Wednesday claimed the life of the homeowner.

Authorities believe the man, who lived alone and reportedly had difficulty walking, became trapped in the blaze that broke out just after 6 a.m. on the 900 block of Pitman Avenue.

A neighbor called 911 after seeing flames coming from the home.

"The female that called said she heard two bangs," said Collingdale Police Sgt. Ken Felker. "We're not going with explosions. We're not sure. And she looked out the window and saw the flames and called 911."

Fire was showing when firefighters arrived to the three-story single family house.

House fire claims a life in Collingdale: Vernon Odom reports during Action News at Noon on February 21, 2018.

Crews reported there was a partial collapse of the building before they were able to bring the blaze under control about an hour and 20 minutes later.

Fire destroys home in Collingdale: Matt O'Donnell reports during Action News Mornings on February 21, 2018.

It took several hours to find the homeowner, who was trapped inside. Police identify him as 65- year-old Michael Olcese.

"Remains were found at around 11:46 this morning inside the structure and taken to the Delaware County Medical Examiner's office for identification," said Felker.

Neighbors said he seldom came out of the house because of mobility problems.

"He was a mailman," said neighbor Delores Ferguson. "A very nice man, never bothered anybody. Lived alone. Just a nice guy."

In addition to extensive damage to the home, the fire damaged neighboring houses as well.

The fire affected SEPTA's Route 102 trolley line.

Shuttle buses were operating in both directions between North Street and Sharon Hill for several hours, as firefighters wrapped up their work at the scene.


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