Where There’s Smoke (VIDEO)

Fire fails to take out Conrad Laundry, thanks to fearless chefs at MILO Restaurant. 

East Falls secondary business corridor escaped possible tragedy November 8th when a quick-thinking chef stopped a fast-moving fire in a laundromat occupying the street level of a historic three-story rowhouse with residences in the top two floors. We were totally there…

Just happened to have a lunch meeting at Milo Restaurant, and was waiting on some tea with local writer Lara B. Sharp. At first it looked like it was raining in Conrad Laundry, then suddenly dark, thick smoke plumes came billowing out thru the door and window panes. Whoosh, the windows lit up with bright orange flames that were getting bigger before our eyes.

Including us and chef Craig Wilson, there were like five people in Milo at the time, and we all said, “Fire!” in unison. Whoosh again: chef Craig charged across the street with a fire extinguisher, his sous chef Rock right behind him with his own.

As passersby alerted neighbors (and rescued a dog on the 3rd floor), the chefs ran into the blaze and pounded the flames with foam. Still, the fire roared back around them. “Guys they want you out!” Dr. Tom Caley called over from East Falls Chiropractic (who was on the phone with 911).

The chefs beelined back into Milo Restaurant’s kitchen, and then shot right out again with new fire extinguishers, these with longer nozzles. Again, they attacked the flames — this time, they got them out. Minutes later, the fire department arrived to finish the job, then the crisis soon evolved into clean-up and paperwork.

“I don’t know what I was thinking,” chef Craig told us afterward, when he took a moment to reflect and blow black soot out of his nose, “I have a two year old child.” But it’s not like he had time to think — the chef literally has no memory of any conscious decision. Apparently, he just slapped chef Rock on the shoulder and said, “Follow me!” and off they went.

Chef Craig remembers the heat and the smoke, though, and feeling very “determined” that he could get the fire under control. He was so focused he hadn’t noticed us filming right beside him, either, ha.


On top of all this excitement, Milo’s kitchen was still open that afternoon, where we went on to enjoy an incredible lunch (Tandoori tacos and a Thai yellow curry). We’ll be posting a full restaurant review in January but meanwhile we would wholeheartedly recommend this fresh, flavorful food even if we hadn’t just seen the chefs run into a burning building to save people’s homes and property.

But we did! And wow, guys. Treat yourself to a vibrant, delicious meal and while you’re there perhaps give chef Craig a shout for his brave act of neighborhood heroism. We’re extra glad to have this new business on Conrad Street.  Welcome, Milo Restaurant!

Milo Restaurant
Vegan/vegetarian cuisine — dine in or take out, plus grab & go options, as well. Tacos, noodles, salads, sandwiches, and even special teas, coffees, and elixers!
3426 Conrad Street
215-808-7282
Open Tues-Sun 7am – 4pm
Open Thurs/Fri/Sat 6pm – 9pm

Comments from Facebook…

Katreena B  Wow. Thankful that no one was hurt. Amazing job guys!

Michael G  Respect 👍🏼👍🏼

Anne B  Awesome; what a tremendous effort of neighbors to come to the rescue!

Megan M  ❤️ this neighborhood… good work guys!

Edan C  Epic! Glad no one was hurt!

Timothy M  Owner is a very nice guy.

Jess M  Thank you to those who were brave enough to run into that building! True heroes!

John B  Wow! Awesome job! That’s the Falls that I know!

Heather H  That’s crazy! 👏 WELL done to those who 1st moved fast & extinguished, G-R-E-A-T JOB! !

Nicholas M  Dryer fire or trash can?

Arlene K  Inside dryer

Kate S   Holy crap, those two men are amazing

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4 Comments

  • Francis M

    Very brave and courageous act by both of these men and their actions no doubt help to minimize the spread and damage from this fire. I did want to educate you and others on one comment both in the article and the video, “Again, they attacked the flames — this time, they got them out.” At this time the fire in that building was transitioning. It is true the flames had gone out, but I suspect it was because the fire had created a fuel rich atmosphere and the flames dulled down because it was oxygen starved. In a structure fire this is an extremely dangerous situation. The second time those gentleman went to enter that building they were putting their lives at an extreme risk. Other than risking your life to save another humans life inside this should be done by professionals. That is why 911 operator was telling them to get out and stay out. Structure fires are fought in a very specific way by Professional firefighters to minimize those risks and dangers. Again I applaud those two men for their quick actions and bravery, but I was cringing when i was watching them about to go back in. Very very very dangerous. Don’t want to be a downer — simply want to educate.

    • Carolyn Fillmore

      Thank you for your thoughtful fire break-down! Agree the MILO chefs took rash and dangerous action — I think even they would agree, in hindsight. At the time, though, they were acting on instinct and just trying to do their best. We’re all certainly lucky that everything turned out OK but meanwhile yes let’s stress: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME PLEASE! Thank you again for chiming in.

  • Katherine

    Does anyone know when the laundromat will be operational again or what started the fire? Any comments from the actual owner?

    • Carolyn Fillmore

      Thanks for asking, last week they requested our fire video and then wrote us back that their insurance company is now proceeding ahead with the claim. “Things should change soon,” we were told. Wish we had more definite details, we’ll update if we hear anything.

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