On Monday July 6th around 5:45pm, Upper Darby Fire Department was dispatched to 72 S. 69th Street for a building fire. Arriving on location crews had a lot of smoke showing from the Payless shoe store and spreading to the attached stores. Crews had a hard time locating the seat of the fire, so a 2nd alarm was quickly requested. Crews found heavy fire on the 2nd floor in the rear of the building and tried accessing it. Deputy Chief Shuster (Incident Command) made a quick decision to pull everyone from the building, and minutes later there was a partial collapse. The 3rd alarm was requested and an immediate call back of all off duty Upper Darby career firefighters was also asked for. Many of our members (off duty) responded to the scene to assist our "brothers". Still having a hard time getting water on the seat of the fire, a 4th alarm was requested and a full aerial attack was set up to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjacent stores. The Delaware County Mobile Command Center responded to the scene and was used as a meeting spot for the Fire Department Chief (Edward Cubler), Police Chief (Mike Chitwood), Mayor (Tom Micozzie) and other Township Officials to discuss strategies and tactics on how to save the rest of the strip of stores. The fire was declared under control approximately 4 hours later and some crews remained on scene throughout the night and the next day to make sure no flare ups occurred. The Fire is being investigated but is believed to be accidental.
The Upper Darby Firefighters would like to thank our off duty career staff who responded in, the volunteer fire companies, the police departments, the medical emergency workers, and everyone else who was called in to assist in saving the block. We also want to thank the citizens who came by to bring us water and other refreshments. Without the help of everyone on scene, we would not have been able to save the rest of the stores.