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Firefighters battle house fire in Reading

By Pam Cunningham, Reporter
Published On: Jan 30 2013 02:42:57 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 11 2013 01:44:42 PM CST

A 2-alarm fire ripped through a Reading home sending one man to the hospital and forcing another to leap for his life.

READING, Pa. -

A 2-alarm fire ripped through a Reading home, sending one man to the hospital and forcing another to leap for his life.

It was a scary afternoon Thursday for Jose Antonio Vazquez.

"I was in, take the shower. The smoke was coming up and then I jumped to the fire escape," said Vazquez. "I open the window and went out the fire escape."

With no clothes, he was forced to jump to safety as fire engulfed the back of a row home in the 300 block of North 2nd Street.

Firefighters said it appeared the flames started in the rear of the first floor apartment, and they were able to get it under control within 35 minutes.

There are three apartments in the home, one on each floor. There was heavy fire damage on the first floor, smoke and water damage above and to the next door neighbors' homes.

"Starts coming in your house, you got to be worried," said neighbor Larry Durham. "Can't stay around long. I got dressed as fast as I could."

Durham was also bathing when the fire struck. He was able to grab clothes. Vazquez couldn't. Vazquez was lent what he wore afterward. He said the man on the first floor told him the started the fire in his kitchen when he left a pan on a lit stove and went to the bathroom.

"Maybe the stove got greasy," said Vazquez.

The fire marshal backed up the man's claim, citing cooking as the cause of the fire.

The man on the first floor was taken to the hospital for burns.

It was an emotional day for everyone who lived there, including Ana Daisy Santiago whose home on the third floor apartment is unlivable.

"I have nothing," Santiago said in Spanish.

The Red Cross said it will help the three people displaced from their apartments.