Man Dies in Raging Philly Shopping Center Blaze

A man died and two firefighters suffered minor injuries after a fire broke out late last night at the Melrose shopping center in Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County.

Montgomery County dispatch logs show the fire was reported about 11 Thursday night in a 911 call.

The two-alarm blaze broke out during what was initially reported as a small explosion in a beauty supply store in the strip mall on the unit block of East Cheltenham Avenue.

The fire was brought until control about 4:37 a.m., but was still burning an hour later. It had spread to two other units in the mall.

The victim, not yet identified by authorities, was pulled from the beauty supply shop. Fire officials said the victim was the security guard who called 911 to report the blaze.

Cold hampered the efforts to fight the fire as a water main froze, according to Cheltenham Fire Co. Chief Richard Schuck.

Crews tapped water from neighboring Philadelphia.

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