Flames devoured a Cherry Hill mansion owned by one of the region's biggest auto dealers early yesterday. No one was hurt and the cause was not suspicious, authorities said.
Icicles dangled from firefighters' helmets as they battled the two-alarm blaze on the 800 block of Springdale Road in Cherry Hill through snow and gusty winds. The cold froze emergency workers' communications equipment, but didn't significantly hamper firefighting, officials said.
Property records show that the dwelling is owned by Charles Foulke II, owner of Cherry Hill Triplex, Mall Chevrolet and numerous other South Jersey car dealerships and auto body shops.
The mansion was a "total loss" and will be torn down in the next two days, said Fire Chief Robert Giorgio. Giorgio declined to identify the owner.
The house had only three bedrooms, but with a 200-foot facade, "they were really big bedrooms," Giorgio said.
Firefighters arrived about 3:20 a.m., he said, to find an older man and woman standing in front of the burning home. The man had attempted to put out the blaze with a handheld fire extinguisher.
The fire appears to have started accidentally in a multipurpose room on the first floor, Giorgio said. The cause wasn't immediately determined.
Heat from the raging blaze broke four large sets of windows at the back of the house, sucking in air that fed the fire, Giorgio said.