I decided to check-out the press conference with the lawyers representing the burned out tenants at Riverwalk held today at 10 a.m. Due to rain, it was moved off Cherry Street to the Residence Inn. I was shocked by what I learned.
I expected to walk into the room and find the residents to be 20 and 30 somethings. They were not. There was one couple who lived in the apartment five months out of the year to be close to their kids and grandkids when not living in Florida. She is in her 70’s and he is in his 80’s. Another former resident, that lived there with his wife, was also in his 70’s.
While the fire was equally tragic for the younger residents, these couples, recognized that they are at the twilight of their lives and will not have an opportunity to replace the family heirlooms and photographs lost. One couple were actually in the process of moving out to another apartment complex and had packed everything up, dutifly writing the name of the child they planned to past the items on too. Every box was lost to the flames.
The man in his 70’s was called by his wife to come home when the fire broke. Once he arrived to find the inferno, his wife was no where to be found. He eventually found her sitting on a stoop down the street. The fire left them with only the clothes on their backs.
A lot of the talking was done by the lawyers who gave a presentation on how they believe the fire started with never before released photos taken from someone across the street. The lawyers for the residents claim the improper use of a oxyacetlylene torch by Cavan Construction caused the blaze.
Cavan Construction and some other defendants are currently in a settlement process, however, have not admited their error or made an offer to settle. If a settlement is not reach by the end of September, the case will move forward.
Below are the just release photographs of the early stages of the fire. Note the time listed on each photograph to see how fast it spread.
Here is the story from the Inquirer.