Fire crews from Hatboro, Horsham and surrounding communities worked to extinguish a blaze which appears to have started at a laundromat in a West Moreland Avenue strip mall Sunday.
Thick, black smoke filled the sky and throngs of people surrounded the Shoppes at Blair Mill center to watch as crews battled the blaze Sunday evening, which began shortly before 5 p.m. and was brought under control just after 6 p.m.
Michele Shour of Horsham said she was inside the laundromat - which is situated in the 100 block of West Moreland Avenue in Horsham - washing two weeks worth of her and her 7-year-old son's clothes when she noticed smoke in the ceiling.
"He was a little more scared," Shour said, as she watched crews work on the fire from across the street, near the Village Mall shopping center. "We just lost all our stuff."
Horsham Township Emergency Management Deputy Coordinator Gary Bissig told Patch that he did not know the cause of the fire, or how far it had spread. Fire Marshal George Fida was investigating it, he said. Patch was unsuccessful in reaching Fida or Horsham Fire Company Chief Tim Flanagan for comment Sunday.
Fida told Fox 29 News that four firefighters suffered minor injuries as a result of the fire. Three had to be hospitalized at Abington Memorial Hospital.
The fire is believed to have started in the ceiling of the laundromat and led to the collapse of the roof. Smoke and water damaged all the strip mall's buildings.
The owner of the adjacent Dairy Queen said he was called out to the scene, but was told he could not enter the store as crews worked to extinguish the fire from atop a ladder.
Dorothy Fox, like Shour and 9 or 10 others, was inside the laundromat when the fire started.
"Smoke just came outta one of the vents," Fox said, noting that the smoke was "light" at first. "All of a sudden you couldn't see in front of your face."
Fox, who had three dryers in use at the time, said she used a trash can to prop the door open. As she and her mother-in-law fled the building, Fox said others were coming in to try to salvage clothing.
Stay tuned to Patch for more on this story.