Red Cross, community members help dozens displaced by Lancaster Twp. fire


LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Dozens of people have been displaced during the holiday season after a fire ravaged a Kensington Club Apartments complex in Lancaster Township.

The blaze began around 1 a.m. Friday at the complex at Wyncroft Lane and Wyncroft Terrace.

The PA State Police Fire Marshal says since no one can get inside, the cause of the fire is undetermined, but it was likely electrical.

Crews boarded up the complex so it would be stable overnight.

Fire officials say given the damage, the building will likely be torn down.

“Our fire alarms didn’t go off, so we didn’t know what was going on, but they told us there was a fire so we all started running out,” said Enrique Matos, who lived in the complex.

It was a knock on his door Matos won’t ever forget.

“I just grabbed things to wear because I knew it was cold,” said Matos. “We didn’t grab our money or anything like that.”

“A roof on top of a roof and its rubber foam with Styrofoam insulation, so just a lot of petroleum fuel was in that roof area and that’s where that main body of fire was,” said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Roy of the Lancaster Township Fire Department.

Investigators say about 50 people were evacuated and 35 have been displaced.

Two people were treated for smoke inhalation and a woman who is seven months pregnant was brought to the hospital out of caution.

“I think by tonight I’ll have enough for everybody to put their head on a pillow and be warm,” said Angie Piel, who lives in Lancaster Township.

Piel knows what it’s like to lose everything in a fire, so she served as a translator at the scene and is organizing relief efforts.

“Getting names and addresses and how many people are in each displaced household and what they need, and right now they need everything,” said Piel. “But I thought maybe over the weekend, I could get on social media and do some collecting of some things.”

The Red Cross is helping about 20 families.

“A lot of times that looks like clothing, shelter, and food,” said Lisa Landis of the Red Cross Greater Pennsylvania Region.”Often times, there may be extenuating circumstance where they may have prescriptions or medical equipment.”

Red Cross volunteers also provide mental health and spiritual care while Kensington Club Apartments said in a statement it is providing debit cards and arranging to relocate displaced families onsite.

Investigators say last year, there was a fire at the Kensington Club Apartments in a different complex when a new roof was being installed.

A spokesperson of Kensington Club Apartments offered this statement:

“Property managers received reports of a fire at Kensington Club Apartments at 1 am this morning at Building 622, a 12-unit structure with 10-occupied units which has been lost.  Kensington Club management and the Red Cross are assisting residents of building 622 and helped coordinate temporary homes for those affected. Building 620, also 12-units, is attached to Building 622 and is undamaged by fire. In order to safely clear the debris from building 622, we will relocate all tenants of building 620 elsewhere in Kensington Club, at no cost to the residents. We await the Fire Marshall’s findings as to the cause of the fire.

It is with great relief that no serious injuries were suffered, and we are grateful to the Lancaster Fire Department for its successful on-site treatment of two cases of smoke inhalation.  The initial community support includes special services for children in the school district being coordinated by Keith Carroll who can be reached at 717-587-7268.”

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