Pechin Street landlord says faulty air conditioner is to blame for Monday night fire

Two Roxborough families are without homes this morning after a fire damaged their Pechin Street building last night. 

At approximately 6 p.m., the Philadelphia Fire Department responded to a call on the 4400 block of Pechin Street. Firefighters from five engine companies, two ladder companies, and the Rescue Company responded to the blaze, which began on the second floor of the three-story structure and quickly spread to the third.

Battalion Chief Ronald Johnakin reported that the fire was placed under control at 6:34 p.m. Residents of the upper two floors of the converted apartment building – three adults and two children – were uninjured. The first floor was vacant.

Chief Johnakin relayed that the American Red Cross was on call to assist with the displaced families. He confirmed that no dog was found within the premises, contrary to neighborhood concerns.

A ‘surreal’ scene on Pechin Street

Janice Soulas of the 400 block of Conarroe St. said the scene was “surreal.”

“You couldn’t see the top of the building,” she said. “The fire was consuming the entire third floor.”

Soulas expressed relief that none of the home’s occupants were injured, recalling a fire in September 2010 on the 400 block of Conarroe Street that claimed the life of a 51-year old man, subsequently attributed to careless smoking.

The two occupants of the third floor of the Pechin Street property were present on Monday but declined a NewsWorks request for an interview. Neighbors reported that the couple was in the building at the time of the blaze.

Ed Guie, the owner of the Pechin Street building, was on the scene at Monday’s fire.

“I’m glad no one was hurt,” he said, and attributed the fire to a faulty air conditioning unit located in a second floor window.

A resident of Lafayette Hill, Guie purchased the property in 1996, and owns several additional properties in the neighborhood. Prior to Monday’s fire, he had never experienced such an episode.

“It’s a first for me,” he remarked.

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