West Philly apartment fire cause unknown

Fire officials said yesterday that the cause of a Jan. 10 fire at Windermere Court Apartments at 48th and Walnut streets is undetermined.

The blaze went to five alarms and raged for almost five hours before firefighters could get it under control, leaving nearly 200 residents homeless. Last Saturday, a local animal rescue organization protested outside the building because they say the owners have not allowed residents to go back in and retrieve their pets. Some residents have also complained about not being able to get their security deposits returned.

License and Inspections declared the building imminently dangerous and the building owners have opted to demolish it. The demolition was scheduled for yesterday, but L&I Commissioner Fran Burns said the owners requested a postponement.

“We received a request from the owner for a 48-hour delay to cap off a PGW line. During that time, they’re going to attempt to help tenants to recover legal documents and other personal items,” Burns said.

Fire officials said they are still unsure exactly where the fire began.

“We’ve completed our investigation, as much as we could pull from the building, and right now it’s in the hands of the owner,” said Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.

Messages left for building management were not returned.

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