Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor Volunteer Firefighters . . . Our Hometown Heroes!

Strafford Station Apartment fire, photo by Berwyn Fire Company photographer, Jim DeStefano, Sr

Saturday morning, with frigid temperatures in the teens, a fire broke out at the Strafford Station Apartments, which is close to the Strafford train station. The initial 9-1-1 call came in to the Berwyn Fire Company at 9:25 AM. Berwyn’s Engine 2-3 raced to the fire, arriving at 9:31 AM, reporting that fire was coming from the 3rd floor. Also rushing to the initial first alarm call were firefighters from Paoli and Radnor fire companies. The Tredyffrin Police assisted with the evacuation of the first and second floors of the apartment building, as the blaze quickly went through the 40-unit building. A ‘working fire’ was dispatched at 9:28 AM . . . A second alarm was requested at 9:35 AM . . . and at 10:02 AM a third alarm was requested for the Strafford fire.

As dark billowing smoke shot into the morning air, residents had very little time to get out, grabbing what they could as they raced from their apartments. Thrust in to the cold, the residents were grateful for their lives but were left trying to cope with their sudden loss.

Local firefighters battling Strafford Station Apartment Fire, photo by Berwyn Fire Company photographer Jim DeStefano, Sr

The landlord and the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania are coordinating help for the victims. The Red Cross assisted 60 people who were forced out of their homes by the fire. They distributed money and food to anyone who was in need, and their medical personnel refilled lifesaving prescriptions for several tenants on the scene. The landlord aided the displaced tenants with temporary relocation to local hotels.

By the time the third alarm was requested for the Strafford Station Apartment fire, Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor fire companies were joined by volunteers from an additional thirteen fire companies*. Fire company apparatus responded from Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. The fire extended into the roof and then traveled the roofline horizontally from one end of the building to another, gutting 24 apartment units in its wake.

Interior photo of gutted Strafford Station Apartment, which displaced 60 residents. Photo by Berwyn Fire Company photographer Jim DeStefano, Sr.

At the height of the fire, over 100 volunteer fire/emergency service personnel were on the scene. The fire brought under control around 11 AM and the final fire units cleared the scene just after 3 PM. The Strafford Station Apartment fire is under investigation by the Chester County and Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshals. Early comment is that the accidental fire may be the result of a second floor heating unit. Damage is estimated at $1.25 million.

It was a stroke of fortune that no one was killed or injured as a result of yesterday’s three-alarm fire. Please join me in saluting our local volunteer firefighters from Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor fire companies . . . thank you for your quick response and for protecting our residents.


*In addition to Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor fire companies, the following compaies also responded to the Strafford Station Apartment fire: Malvern Fire Company
East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Association, Newtown Square Fire Company, Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company, King of Prussia Volunteer Fire Company, Goshen Fire Company, Bryn Mawr Fire Company, Gladwyne Fire Company, Lionville Fire Company, Narberth Ambulance, Lafeyette Ambulance (Upper Merion), Good Fellowship Ambulance (West Chester), and Phoenixville Fire Department Ambulance.

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  1. Pattye,
    I enjoy your blog for your straightforward approach and common-sense opinions, and of course, for the back and forth commentary because it provides a real sense of what’s on people’s minds in Tredyffrin.

    But you also give us timely information about what’s going on within a few miles from home. This combination is invaluable!

    I did happen to catch news of the terrible fire in Strafford on the 11 PM news last night, but the report was no more specific than to say “apartments in Strafford”. I wasn’t sure where it happened.

    So when I opened your blog this morning, I got a clear sense of when and where it happened and how our local fire companies saved the day. We really are fortunate to have them serving our community!!

    I feel terrible for the residents who lost everything and now find themselves homeless. I know the Red Cross was there to offer some support, but do you know if any community organization or church is following up to help the affected people? T&E Care, perhaps?

    I know there are people in this community who would like to help. Let’s see what we can do

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I will send an email to Sandi Gorman at T&E Care and see if they know of needs of the displaced Strafford Station apartment residents. If I find out anything, I will post it.

  2. For those wishing to help the displaced residents from the Strafford Station Apartment fire, here is information from T&E Care website:


    1/31/10 – 8am – We have just learned about the FIRE LAST NIGHT AT STRAFFORD STATION APTS at 400 Strafford Avenue. Apparently 60 people are now homeless.

    We will be working with other groups to help coordinate efforts to help these families. Please check back soon for information on how you can help. In the meantime, anyone interested in making a donation to this effort can do so –
    send checks payable toT&E Care
    Send to:
    Debbie Weger, 540 Contention Lane, Berwyn, 19312.
    On the memo line mark: Strafford Station Apt fire

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