A fire broke out and destroyed a family’s rowhome in Northeast Philadelphia just after 12:30 a.m. Thursday. The fire department arrived on scene quickly to contain the blaze, and although no one was injured, the damage from the fire displaced the family and pets.
Firefighters arrived at the house, located in the Wissinoming section of Northeast Philadelphia, to find the basement on fire early Thursday morning, according to WPVI/ABC News.
However, there was no response from inside the home, and firefighters started asking neighbors if anyone lived there to determine whether anyone was inside in need of rescuing.
What they did not know at the time was the no one was at home. As a result, they assumed the worst and busted the door open and broke windows to get inside and attend to the fire.
A little over a half-hour after arriving at the burning home, the firefighters were able to contain the fire.
Despite the quick response time, the fire still caused an immense amount of damage to the home. The flames destroyed the basement where the fire started and smoke and soot damaged the rest of the home — most notably in the kitchen and back dining area.
Although flames did not damage any of the adjoining row homes, smoke and soot seeped through to a few on either side.
Fire spreading quickly down a row of rowhomes through the attic is a common problem for this type of housing. That the firefighters were able to contain the flames so quickly prevented the fire from spreading to the attached homes in the row.
Though the family asked for anonymity for privacy, the son of the homeowner said the family had no idea anything was wrong. He added that one of his neighbors knew where the family would be and alerted him to the problem via Facebook.
“Someone messaged me on Facebook to say ‘Your house is on fire!’ and I came right here… To this.”
Although the home was empty and the occupants were elsewhere at the time the fire started, two dogs and a cat were present. All three pets were rescued from the property and taken to stay with a neighbor until the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team were able to offer assistance.
Red Paw is a non-profit that works, “in conjunction with the Red Cross to assure (sic) that all family members are cared for,” according to its FAQ page. The organization cares for displaced pets for 30 days minimum, unless the owners can take them back sooner.
Although the fire was put out much earlier, the trucks and crews didn’t unhook their hoses from the fire hydrants until almost 3 a.m., at which time the house was boarded up for safety.
A family member said at the scene that an official suggested the fire might have been electrical, but the cause is still under investigation.
[Photo Credit: JC Torpey]