87-year-old woman, alone at home with her dog, dies in Wyndmoor fire

by Tom Beck and Carla Robinson
Posted 1/23/24

Firefighters were called to the residence, the center townhouse in a block of five townhouses in Stotesbury Estates, at 2:10 a.m.

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87-year-old woman, alone at home with her dog, dies in Wyndmoor fire


An 87-year-old Wyndmoor woman died in a fatal blaze that broke out on the 8700 block of Duveen Drive in the early morning hours on Tuesday. 

Firefighters were called to the residence, which is the center townhouse in a block of five townhouses in the Stotesbury Estates development, at 2:10 a.m., said Springfield Township Fire Marshal Chuck Bailey. He did not identify the victim. 

The Wyndmoor Hose Company, the community’s volunteer fire department, reported on its Facebook page that they were called to the scene by Ambler’s volunteer ambulance crew, the Community Ambulance Association, which had responded to an earlier call about a respiratory emergency and saw smoke when they arrived on the scene. Bailey, who said the fire is still being investigated, could not confirm that report. 

Engine crews from Wyndmoor, Oreland, Flourtown, and Barren Hill fire companies responded to the initial alarm. 

According to the fire company’s Facebook report, the Ambler ambulance crew and Springfield Police encountered “heavy fire” on the first and second floors when they entered the house, and flames were spreading through the roof. 

“Multiple handlines were placed in service and a primary search was initiated,” they reported in their Facebook post. But “interior conditions quickly deteriorated and crews were pulled out of the structure.”

Fire dispatch then called three additional crews to the scene, including Glenside, Lamott Fire Company from Cheltenham Township, and Edgehill Fire Company from Abington Township. 

After they got the fire under control, emergency responders went back in to look for the owner of the house.  

“Unfortunately, the occupant was deceased in the 2nd-floor rear bedroom,” they reported. 

According to neighbors, the woman lived alone in the house with her dog, who also died in the flames. 

“She was a very, very sweet woman,” said one neighbor, who gave only his first name, Marshall. He said he would see her often when she was out walking her dog, and they became friends. 

“She was a good friend and a great person,” he said. “I really looked forward to seeing her out on her walks.” 

Melissa Montgomery, a neighbor who lives at the end of the block of five townhouses, said the woman had been wearing a boot and using a crutch for several months, but that she seemed otherwise active and in good health. 

“I would see her out walking her dog, even with the boot and the crutch,” she said, adding that the dog was a large breed, and looked as though it might have been a golden retriever. “She didn’t seem to let it stop her. I’d see her taking out the trash.”

Montgomery, who said she was “very impressed” by the firefighters who responded to the scene, said she was awakened at about 2:15 a.m. by “pounding on the door” as they told her to immediately evacuate the building.

“At that point, there were already flames shooting out of the house,” she said. 

Another neighbor, who declined to give her name, said that this is the first time there’s been a major fire in the development, which was built in 1986.

“It’s horrifying,” said the neighbor, who said she’d lived in the development since it was built. 

According to multiple neighbors, the adjacent home to the left of the home where the fire broke out sustained enough smoke and fire damage that repairs will take multiple months, while the house on the other adjacent side sustained a smaller amount of water damage. 

“The house on the right had some water damage, but the wind was blowing in the opposite direction, so it had much less,” Montgomery said. 

Crews remained on the scene for several hours, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

According to property records, the three-bedroom townhouse, which is located in the Stotesbury Estates section of Wyndmoor, was last sold in 2015.