A fire that broke out in a combination garage and living quarters behind 32 Summit Street, Chestnut Hill, quickly consumed the more than 100-year-old structure on Tuesday morning, August 23, leaving little more than a few charred and smoking first floor walls still standing.
According to Philadelphia Fire Department (PFD) officials on the scene, the alarm was called in at 10:24 a.m., fire engines arrived at 10:33, and the blaze was declared under control at 11:13 a.m. Water was still being sprayed on the smoldering debris an hour later.
Battalion Chief Charles Klink said that normally the first responding company would have been that of Engine 37, located at 101 West Highland Avenue, but that company was away at a training exercise. He said that the first company on the scene was that of Engine 9, Ladder 21, located at Carpenter Lane and Germantown Avenue. That station re-opened in February 2011 after being closed for nearly a year for structural repairs.
A total of four engines and two ladders responded to the fire, he said.
Klink said that one firefighter was slightly injured in a trip and fall accident and was taken to Einstein Medical Center for treatment. The blaze itself did not cause any injuries, he said.
The original structure was built in 1865, according to a man who identified himself as the owner of the property but who declined to give his name. It was originally built as a carriage house for the house at 32 Summit Street and had been converted to a first-floor garage and living quarters on the second floor.
A man who identified himself as the resident in the carriage house but declined to be identified for this story said that he did not know what could have sparked the fire. When the fire broke out, he said, “No one was home.”
He had never been affected by fire before, he said, but now, “Everything is gone, everything. We have no clothes left.”