By Bradley Schlegel
SKIPPACK — Lindsay Smith, the owner of Stitchwell Fabric in Skippack Village, was sewing in a second-floor room when she saw another business owner running past her business, away from Route 73 toward a strip of shops.
“At that point I knew something was wrong,” she said.
Looking out a rear window, Smith says she saw the attic of the building engulfed in flames.
A two-alarm blaze Friday afternoon disrupted businesses in the strip near the back of the main parking lot at 4007 Skippack Pike, according to Haydn Marriott IV, chief the Skippack Fire Company.
He said the entire structure’s first floor absorbed smoke and water damage, and that the attic in the center of strip absorbed substantial damage from heavy fire.
Between six and 10 people safely left the stores, Marriott said.
He said the incident will all force the building’s businesses — which include Hodge Podge, Merle Norman and Head over Heels — to indefinitely close.
According to Marriott, the blaze started in a mulch pile behind the building. He said the fire burned up the wall, climbed the roof and entered the attic.
Authorities responded to the incident at 1:20 p.m., according to the chief.
He said firefighters needed between 30 and 45 minutes to extinguish the fire.
First responders received the initial call as a car fire, according to Marriott. However, he said no vehicles were involved in the blaze.
The state police fire marshal was on the scene Friday investigating the incident.
Firefighters from Worcester, Harleysville, Towamencin and Lower Providence responded to the scene, according to the chief.
He said members of the Perkiomen Township Fire Company were on standby at Skippack’s station.
Fire police closed Route 73 between Store Road and Old Forty Foot Road.