Residents reeling from ravaging fire in York

Written by Ted Czech/York Daily Record | Oct 31, 2016 7:17 AM


The aftermath of a fire in the 100 block of East Maple Street in York Sunday October 30, 2016 Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record


The East Maple Street fire was the largest of three fires in York on Saturday, damaging seven homes and injuring three firefighters.

(York) -- Abu Samia could feel the fire's heat singeing his long red beard as he ran out of his home on East Maple Street on Saturday night.

Samia, 40, who lives at 144 E. Maple St., said he was on his computer, "minding my business," when a neighbor, Stacy Williams, pounded on his front door, yelling that there was a fire.

Gathering his wife and young child, Samia evacuated, then stood nearby and watched as the fire ravaged seven row homes on the block.

"It burned from 10 to 4 a.m.," Samia said Sunday morning.

He thanked firefighters -- whose numbers that night were about 100, from all over the county -- who labored to extinguish the blaze.

"They put their life on the line," he said. "My heart and feelings go out to them."

The East Maple Street fire was the third in York that night. Firefighters were busy Thursday with a blaze that consumed two vacant homes on Susquehanna Avenue.

Samia joined several other residents Sunday morning, who walked among the charred and wet debris, trying to make sense of what had befallen them that night.

Cassandra Nelson, who live across the street from the affected homes, was also woken by Williams' repeated knocks.

"This is just too much," she said. "It's insane."

Residents recall the early moments of the fire. More than 100 firefighters fought a fire on East Maple Street in York. Paul Kuehnel

As of Sunday morning, York City Fire/Rescue Services Chief David Michaels said there were still some unknowns: How many residents were displaced; what caused the fire and where it started.

He said he expected to meet a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal at the East Maple Street fire in the early afternoon to continue the investigation.

Stretched thin

York firefighters were in the midst of rescuing a man from a third-floor apartment at a South George Street fire Saturday night when the call came for several homes ablaze on East Maple Street, Chief David Michaels said.

It was the third that night, all within 45 minutes. Before the South George Street blaze at 10:15 p.m., firefighters were called to one on South Duke Street at 9:45 p.m., which they quickly extinguished, Michaels said.


Abu Samia, who lives 6 homes from where the fire started talks about the moments after the fire started in the 100 block of East Maple Street in York Sunday October 30, 2016 (Photo: Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

This story is part of a partnership between WITF and the York Daily Record.

Published in York

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