Chief: Smoke alarm likely saved kids
The fire started in a bedroom where two young children lay in the depths of slumber, oblivious to the danger.
It was fire alarms that saved them, waking up their parents, who came in and scooped up the kids "just in the knick of time," Tracey said."They were sound asleep," said York Township Goodwill Fire Chief Nate Tracey.
"If it would have not been for the smoke alarms ... we probably would have had fatalities," he said.
The two-alarm fire in an apartment building at 302 Queensdale Drive in York Township that was called in at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday displaced about 30 residents and sent a firefighter to the hospital with minor complications, the chief said.
Tracey said the fire appears to be accidental. Police said it was likely caused by an electrical malfunction, and damage is estimated as $1 million.
When crews arrived, they saw smoke and fire coming from the window, he said. Tracey said they called in the second alarm about 35 minutes after the original fire was dispatched.
He said the blaze started in the second-floor apartment that had the kids in it, and eventually spread to the apartment above it.
That's Austin Kling's apartment. He was back several hours later, after the sun had finally risen Wednesday morning, looking for anything that could be salvaged.
There wasn't much to get.
"Not from the bedrooms," he said. "Like none of our clothing, none of our books."
Their bedrooms were right over where the fire started, and they had taken serious damage.
"Fire, water, smoke — anything you can think of," he said.
What seemed to weigh on him most were the things money couldn't replace, such as art he had made, including ceramics and digital design pieces.
"All of my trophies from wrestling in high school — all gone," he said.
He said one of his four roommates had heard the alarms and gone out on their balcony. He saw the fire coming from below, so he banged on everyone's doors, and they all got out safely.
He said the Red Cross will likely help put him up in a hotel for the time being, as his apartment is unlivable.
Along with York Township's Goodwill Fire Co., crews from Dallastown, Red Lion, Yoe, York Area United and West York battled the blaze.
— Reach Sean Cotter at firstname.lastname@example.org.