Windermere Apartments fire victims get their money

Posted on 14 January 2016 by Mike Lyons


Protestors took to the streets in the days following the devastating 2011 fire at Windermere Court Apartments. Photos by West Philly Local).

Five years after a catastrophic fire destroyed the Windermere Court Apartments at 48th and Walnut, building tenants who participated in a class-action lawsuit have received their share of a $4.75 million settlement.

fireThe fire that broke out on Jan. 10, 2011 destroyed the 90-unit building and left its residents scrambling for housing. Many spent days protesting the building owner’s decision not to let them return to retrieve their belongings and pets that may have survived the blaze.

The cause of the fire is disputed. An expert determined on behalf of the tenants during a 2013 civil trial that the fire resulted from faulty smoke alarms and sprinklers. The building owners – David, Sam and Aron Ginsberg – settled the suit a few days into the 2014 trial for $4.75 million and the settlement was certified last January.

The tenants’ class-action attorney, Tom Marrone, said that the payouts were completed this week. Each tenant who signed onto the suit received an average of $25,000 after legal and other fees.

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Blown transformer causes fire during Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll

Posted on 17 September 2015 by

While many were out and about this evening enjoying the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, a blown transformer caused a fire near 46th and Hazel, according to various reports. The fire was reported shortly before 8 p.m.:

One witness said that the fire engulfed a car parked nearby. We’re trying to get more details.

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Fire reported near 48th and Walnut

Posted on 21 July 2015 by

UPDATE (6:45 p.m.): The fire is under control. No one was injured, according to a paramedic on the scene.


UPDATE (6:30 p.m.): The fire broke out at a row home on the south side of the 4800 block of Walnut St. shortly after 6 p.m. Fire crews are on the scene.

6:20 p.m.: West Philly Local readers are reporting a fire near 48th and Locust/Walnut. Stay tuned as we’re trying to get more information.


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Café Renata owners: “We will be back!”; fundraiser at The Bar(n)

Posted on 16 March 2015 by


Cafe Renata owners, Yasser Aiq and Kate Steenstra, at the cafe (archive photo, West Philly Local).

As many of you know, an overnight fire destroyed Café Renata at 43rd and Locust and injured a neighbor last Thursday. Café Renata co-owners, Kate Steenstra and Yasser Aiq, are safe, but heartbroken over the fire and are still assessing the damage. A lot of support has poured in to them from the community members, which Katie and Yasser are very grateful for.

“Our neighbors and friends have been so supportive of us during all of this and we are so grateful for their encouragement and hugs. We are lucky to be part of such a loving community,” Katie wrote in an email.

While it is still unknown when the popular Spruce Hill coffee and brunch shop will reopen here’s some encouraging news from Katie:

“After taking a few days of reflection Yasser and I would like to tell our friends and customers that we are so encouraged by their support and love the past few days. Without them, Renata would never have been the vibrant café it was. We are looking forward to your continued support during our rebuilding efforts. We will be back!”

If you would like to support Katie and Yasser, visit Cafe Renata’s Facebook page and leave a message. We’re also sharing information about a fundraiser for Café Renata this Thursday, March 19, at The Bar(n) (49th and Catharine) in Cedar Park. The Barn and Wyndridge Farms are teaming up for the Café Renata Tap Takeover Fundraiser where Wyndridge Farms brew will be hooked up to all four of The Barn’s taps. Admission fee is $10 at the door, but guests will get their first brew for free. All drafts will be $3. All of the door and draft proceeds will go to the owners of Café Renata. The event will take place from 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. Check The Barn’s Facebook page for updates.

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Woman hospitalized after early morning fire at Café Renata

Posted on 12 March 2015 by Mike Lyons


Fire officials are investigating the cause of a fire that broke out early Thursday morning at Café Renata (4305 Locust St.), sending one woman to the hospital.

The woman, who has not been identified, lived in an apartment above the café and suffered from smoke inhalation. She was listed in stable condition this morning. Café Renata was heavily damaged in the fire, which firefighters brought under control after about 30 minutes. The U Do We Do Laundromat next door to Café Renata also suffered some damage but was open this morning.

Café Renata co-owners Kate Steenstra and Yasser Aiq rent the space for their restaurant. It was not clear this morning when it might reopen.

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Fire on S. St. Bernard St near Kingsessing (updated)

Posted on 08 March 2015 by

UPDATE (9:45 p.m.): According to latest reports, three houses on S. St. Bernard Street were affected by tonight’s fire. Two of them were unoccupied. Red Cross is assisting two adult residents of the third house damaged by the fire.

A large fire broke out on S. St. Bernard Street near Kingsessing on Sunday evening, around 6 p.m. At least four houses were affected, according to reports. Multiple fire trucks arrived at the scene, and the fire was put out about 20-25 minutes later. No injuries were reported. No more details are available at this time.


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