Merion, PA -- An apartment fire broke out on November 30, 2018, on the St. Joseph’s University campus at 701 City Avenue. The Fire started shortly before 12:40 AM while many students in the in five-story fully occupied building slept, studied, or in this case prepared a late night meal.
The fire was fueled by a pan of cooking oil on the stove. The cooks had left the room and left the oil boiling unattended. The pan burst into flames, and the fire crept silently up the wall towards the ceiling of the apartment’s kitchen.
At precisely 12:38 AM the Montgomery County 911 communication center received the call for help. The dispatch center located in Eagleville sprung into action, immediately dispatching the Lower Merion Fire and Police Departments.
“The sprinkler system did its job here and potentially saved lives,” said Lower Merion Chief Fire Officer Charles “Chas” McGarvey.
While the first responders were en route to the potential inferno the automatic sprinkler system kicked in and suppressed the fire. By the time the fire department and police were on location, the fire was out. Water was flowing from the sprinkler system, and a light haze of smoke filled the apartment. Residents self-evacuated when they realized there was an actual fire in the building, and not just an alarm.
Nine LMFD fire vehicles were on the scene arriving from across the township, including Station 26 from Narberth, Station 21 from Penn Wynne, Ladder 25 from Ardmore, and Engine 28-1 from Bala Cynwyd responded. The Lower Merion Fire Marshal’s office was on the scene.