Southeastern PA

20 injured in fire at Chester County senior living community

The blaze broke out about 11 p.m. Thursday

WEST CHESTER, Pa. - Neighbors living around a Chester County senior living center that went up in flames helped with the effort to clear the building during the inferno, wrapping elderly people in blankets and bringing them to ambulances.

Larry Kingsland said he and dozens of residents ran out to help as the inferno engulfed Barclay Friends Senior Living Community in West Chester late Thursday. The 62-year-old said neighbors rushed seniors to nearby medical personnel and, in some cases, used blankets as gurneys for residents who couldn't walk.

Firefighters are still dousing smoldering hot spots on what remains of the building after bringing the blaze under control about 1:30 a.m. Friday.

At least 20 people have been injured in the blaze that was reported about 11 p.m. Thursday. The fire quickly spread to multiple buildings, forcing residents to evacuate outside into the cold. News helicopter video showed dozens of residents lined up along the street, wrapped in blankets, many of them in wheelchairs.

The extent of the residents' injuries was not immediately known.

A spokeswoman for Main Line Health said area hospitals also are providing shelter to some additional residents of the senior living community.

The chief would not comment on the extent of injuries or if there were any deaths. He also wouldn't say how many residents lived at the senior living community.

An investigation into the cause is ongoing.

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