ELKINS PARK (WTXF) - Authorities say an early morning fire claimed the lives of an elderly couple on Sunday.
By Sunday evening around 7 p.m., they determined the fire was an accident caused by an electrical source.
The two-alarm fire ripped through a twin home, according to Montgomery County officials.
It first broke out in the front room of the home around 4:30 a.m. on the 600 block on Spring Avenue. According to officials, Roy Finestone, 98, was found in the room. His wife, Helen Finestone, 98, was found in the bathroom next to it.
The couple was married for more than 70 years before their lives tragically ended Sunday morning.
A neighbor spotted the flames and called 911.
Officials say the fire went through the walls and extended all the way to the attic making it difficult for the firefighters to contain the flames.
The blaze was finally placed under control just before 7 a.m.The attached home next door only has some smoke damage to it, according to crews on scene.
The official cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Sunday, July 23, 2017 11:34PM
ELKINS PARK, Pa. (WPVI) -- A husband and wife in their 90s are dead after a fast moving two alarm fire swept through a home in Elkins Park, Montgomery County early Sunday morning.
The fire was reported around 4:45 a.m. at the home located on the 600 block of Spring Avenue.
Heavy flames were showing when fire crews arrived.
The fire was located on the second floor and quickly spread through the roof.
The victims have been identified as Roy and Helen Finestone, both 98 years old. Both were found in the front, first floor bedroom.
The family tells us that Roy was a World War II veteran in the Navy. He was sent to the south Pacific during the war, and when he returned home he became an accountant, opening up his own practice.
Helen helped out at the office with Roy, and we're told she was a terrific mother, raising her two children.
Fire officials say there were fire detectors inside, but it's not yet clear if they were fully functional.
The investigators determined the fire accidental in nature due to an electrical source.
A powerful house fire in Elkins Park on Sunday morning killed an elderly couple who had lived in the home for decades, according to authorities.
Neighbors identified the couple as Roy and Helen Finestone, both 98 and longtime residents of the 600 block of Spring Avenue.
Timothy Schuck, deputy fire marshal of Cheltenham Township, said the fire was reported around 4:38 a.m. It took about 150 firefighters more than two hours to get the blaze under control, he said. Investigators had not yet determined a cause, though Schuck did say that there was no indication of foul play and that he believed the fire started in the bedroom where the couple were found.
According to Mark Fazlollah, an Inquirer reporter whose home is adjacent to the Finestones’, sharing a wall, Roy Finestone was a Navy veteran who served in World War II, and his wife was a friendly and thoughtful woman who played with neighborhood children and often baked treats for people on the block.
Fazlollah said the Finestones were considerate neighbors who loved to read. Helen Finestone played basketball with his daughter when she was in her 80s, Fazlollah said.
Kristin Winch, another neighbor, said the Finestones were very close to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, many of whom were frequent visitors.
“They were just really pleasant people,” she said.
Fazlollah said he woke up Sunday and noticed flames coming out of the Finestones’ house. His wife called 911, and he tried to get into his neighbors’ house to help them escape, but the smoke was too intense. Fazlollah’s house also was heavily damaged.
Schuck said firefighters who responded to the scene found a blaze that intensified rapidly, spreading from the Finestones’ first-floor bedroom through the rest of the house and into the attic.
The front of the house was charred Sunday morning; Schuck said a roof over the front bedroom had collapsed. Firefighting conditions were also made more challenging by the high temperatures overnight, he said.
The fire was deemed under control at 6:54 a.m., according to Schuck.
More than a dozen firefighters remained on scene well into Sunday morning, shoveling debris out of the house and hosing down pieces that remained hot.