What to Know
- Fire broke out at an apartment building along South Franklin Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania, before daybreak Thursday.
- The flames tore through the roof of the building and gutted much of the second floor.
- At least five people were forced out of their homes just hours before Christmas.
Flames tore through Chester County apartments popular with college students just days before Christmas.
The fire broke out around 4:15 a.m. Thursday at a University Court apartments building along South Franklin Street in West Chester, Pennsylvania, West Chester Borough Fire and Police Public Information Officer Dave March said. A person driving by spotted the flames and alerted firefighters.
The fire left the roof of the 13-unit building burned out and gutted much of the second floor, forcing people out of their homes into the cold morning air.
The two-alarm fire was under control around 5:40 a.m., but continued to burn and smoke nearly two hours after it began.
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the fire, March said.
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Many of the off-campus building's residents had gone home for Christmas break from nearby West Chester University, March said. In total, five people who were in their units were forced out of their homes and were staying with their parents.
"For the time of day it came in, we would have had students or residents sleeping inside," March said. "There probably would have been rescues made and the outcome could have been much different."
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
CORRECTION (Dec. 23, 2021, 10:34 a.m.): This story has been updated with the correct name, according to officials, of the apartment building that burned.