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3-Alarm Horsham Fire Controlled, Still Smoldering

Fire companies from Horsham and the region are working to extinguish a fire on Blair Mill Road in Horsham.

Fire crews in Horsham have contained a three-alarm fire on Blair Mill and Briarwood roads, and are working to put it out completely.

The fire, which broke out 1:43 p.m. Sunday, was brought under control at 3:30 p.m., according to Horsham Fire Co. Chief Tim Flanagan. The blaze started as a brush fire in front of the leasing office at the Blair Mill Apartments, 298 Blair Mill Road and quickly spread to the building, which contained seven offices, three of which were unoccupied, according to officials. 

"Wind was a significant factor," Flanagan said, adding that it moved to the soffets and "within minutes the roof was on fire."

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People were in the building when the fire began, but were able to evacuate without injury, Flanagan said. 

There were no civilian or firefighter injuries, Flanagan said. About 20 residents of neighboring units were evacuated because of heavy smoke, according to Flanagan. The apartment complex's management company put the occupants up in the Blair Mill Inn. Just before 5 p.m. Sunday, Flanagan said they would be returning home soon. 

Flanagan said it was "too early to tell" if mulch caught fire and spread, or if it had been intentionally set. Horsham Fire Marshal George Fida was still investigating the fire's cause Sunday evening, according to Flanagan.

"I'm not surprised at all," Flanagan said about how fast the fire spread. "One bush gets to another. Something did ignite."

The Fire Police said they have closed "all streets in the immediate vicinity" of the fire as well as between Moreland Avenue and Horsham Road and Blair Mill Road up to Village Mall. Flanagan said he hoped to have most of the roads reopened by 6 p.m. Sunday. 

Flanagan said firefighters would continue working throughout the evening to put out hot spots in the building, which more than three hours after the fire began, was still smoldering. An excavator would be coming sometime Sunday to take down the building, which, according to Flanagan, was totally destroyed. 

The leasing building also contained medical offices, and is about four blocks from the Village Mall.

"The smoke is unbelievable," David Bradford, who lives at the apartment complex, told Patch on Twitter. 

In all, 17 fire companies responded, according to Flanagan. Crews from surrounding areas, including Hatboro, Roslyn, Abington, Fort Washington, Huntingdon Valley, Berwyn, Colmar, Willow Grove and Wissahickon, among others, worked to battle the fire.

Bill April 07, 2013 at 07:01 PM
It's currently a three alarm fire.
michelle April 07, 2013 at 07:30 PM
It be nice if people cutting down. Summer Ave. to get around the fire Would SLOW DOWN. This is a residential neighborhood with lots of children!!
Jonathan Kratz April 07, 2013 at 07:38 PM
And everyone in town is driving over there to see it....Acme parking lot was thick with smoke around 3:30, and a steady stream of cars moving through.
Dresher Mom April 07, 2013 at 07:42 PM
I was wondering what all the sirens were as we were leaving Pet Smart. I saw a giant cloud of smoke.
HarleyGirl04 April 07, 2013 at 09:14 PM
I was coming home around 4:45 and it was still all blocked off.
Joe Orlando April 07, 2013 at 10:22 PM
I would like to say thank you to all of the people who responded for this. Good job.
Tara April 07, 2013 at 11:01 PM
What about someone just getting home and can't get in and has not been placed in Blair Mill Inn??/ Where do they go
Theresa Katalinas (Editor) April 08, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Tara, It should be safe to be home now. The chief told me just before 5 that people would be returning home momentarily.
Mbest April 08, 2013 at 01:46 AM
Any word on the surrounding neighborhood having discolored water?
HarleyGirl04 April 08, 2013 at 02:12 AM
Mbest....My water seemed fine
Siobhra DeWar April 08, 2013 at 11:32 AM
Most likely. Does smoking lower a person's IQ?
Carlin April 08, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Great job by all of the firefighters for containing the fire to the office building with no injuries or loss of life!
Pat Populate Purvis April 08, 2013 at 06:54 PM
I live in the apt's across from the fire, bmve and I was asleep and I thought I was dreaming. Seem like the sirens were never ending. Kinda brought back memories from the 2004 fire where an entire apt building was destroyed

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