LIMERICK — A mulch fire jumped to the facade of the Kohl’s department store just outside Royersford Friday, forcing the evacuation of the store and scorching the front of one of the entrances to the building.
Denny Rumler, deputy fire of the Linfield Fire Company, said the call came in at 12:18 p.m. and he called out six fire companies to fight the blaze, “manpower during the day being short.”
The fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes “as soon as we started hitting it with the water,” Rumler said.
The fire seems to have begun in mulch along the front of the building, then jumped to a bush and from there to the polystyrene facade material which is covered with a “fake block” facade.
Asked how flammable that material is, Rumler smiled and said “did you ever see a Styrofoam cup catch fire?”
Employees of the store clustered together in the parking lot and said they were not authorized to speak to the press.
But one witness who was inside the store when the alarm went off said the employees quickly evacuated the customers, checking the bathrooms and fitting rooms.
“One older gentleman did not want to leave without his wife, but they already had his wife outside so they managed to get him out of the door,” said the witness, who did not want to be identified.
Another witness was Ron Bacskai, who was driving west on Route 422 from the Wegman’s supermarket when he saw the smoke from the road.
“I saw a fair amount of smoke from 422 and the tops of some flames as well,” said Bacskai. “It was a fire that was underway and I didn’t know what stage it was, so I pulled off the exit and into the shopping center and I saw that the left hand-side of the entrance to Kohl’s was actively engaged.”
If it sounds to you like Bacskai knows what he’s talking about, its because he does. He works for RJB Construction in Spring City which specializes in, you guessed it, disaster recovery work.
“We’re here if Kohl’s needs us,” he said.
Rumler did not immediately have an estimate for damages to the store, but said the fire did not get into the interior of the building.
“Mostly just smoke and water damage,” Rumler said.
He said the actual cause of the fire remains “undetermined at this time.”
In addition to Linfield, Rumler said Limerick, Royersford, Spring City, Trappe, Upper Providence and Norco fire companies all responded to the call.
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