At the end of the night, thankfully no one was hurt. Even the family’s dog got out of the house without injury.
Around 8:43 p.m., the Lower Providence Fire Department (LPFD) was called out to a building fire in the area of Clearfield and Woodland Avenue. The property, owned by Susan Gambone, was showing signs of heavy smoke.
“I thought I smelled smoke,” said Sal Gambone, son of the home’s owner. “I came out of my room, and I could not see my hand in front of my face.”
Reacting quickly, Sal got his mother, Susan and his dog out of the house and called 911. By the time he called his sister-in-law, who had run out for a gallon of milk with her two daughters, fire trucks were already arriving on scene.
LPFD was assisted at the scene by Jeffersonville Fire Department No. 1, as well as the borough of Hatboro Fire Company. Hatboro is one of many local companies called in to assist the LPFD while the Fireman’s Fair is taking place all week long.
“There was smoke visible from the attic,” said LPFD Chief James H. Alexander III. Alexander said an HVAC, located in the attic, had begun to smoke, though at no time were flames visible.
No injuries were reported, according to Alexander.
“All the caller could see was smoke,” he said.
By 9:17 p.m., the units were packing up their gear to leave the scene. Woodland Avenue was closed during the call from Trooper Road to Brimfield, as rescue squads tied hoses, which ended up not being used, to nearby hydrants.
The homeowner's daughter-in-law, Tracy Gambone said she was just glad that she and her girls were not home.
“We ran for milk down to Wawa,” she said. “We were just chit chatting there, when I ran into a girlfriend. Then I get this call that the house is smoking.”
Tracy said she was happy that the house was largely unharmed, as well.
“There was a lot of smoke, and it smells really bad,” she said.
For some time, she feared the responders would have to cut through her roof to access the air conditioning unit.
“There is a trap door above the washer and dryer,” said Tracy of the access point, but the rescue teams could not get through with equipment on. “They just couldn’t fit so they thought they were going to cut a hole in the roof.”
Thankfully after power was cut from the unit, the HVAC quit smoking.
“They turned the lights back on and it was still OK,” said Tracy, citing that she believes the cord to the unit may have been cut directly to stop the smoking.
“I’m just glad my girls were not home, or sleeping,” she said, as the unit is directly above the daughters’ bedroom. She was also glad that her sleeping mother-in-law was awoken by Sal and removed from the home.
“I just can’t imagine what it all could have been,” she said. “I’m glad it was luckily just smoke.”
The house was being aired out by its owners as they decided if they’d stay the night tonight.
“We hope to just air it out,” said Tracy.
Assisting also at the scene were the Lower Providence Police Department and local fire police, directing traffic away from the area. Road were said to be open again by 10 p.m.