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Fires in Pottstown displace 19

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Mar 03 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Mar 04 2013 05:16:51 PM CST

Fires in Pottstown displace 19

POTTSTOWN, Pa. -

Nineteen residents have been displaced from their homes in Montgomery County after two fires broke out at two separate homes Sunday morning.

"For us locally here, the three major causes of fires have been cooking, candles and heating systems not properly serviced," said Pottstown Fire Department Chief Richard Lengel.

Lengel stated that two of the three causes were responsible for fires on Sunday. Around 7:00am, Lengel said, flames spread through this twin home building in the 300 block of Evans Street.

"People had a pan of oil on the stove that overheated and ignited and subsequently into the kitchen and then through the entire first floor of the home," said Lengel.

While no one was injured, Lengel said on Monday that 16 people were displaced in the fire. The two families are being helped by Southeastern PA chapter of the American Red Cross. It is unknown at this time if the twin home is a total loss.

The average response time for firefighters in Pottstown, Lengel said, is about three minutes. Even still, Lengel said that could be too late.

"They only think they'll be away a minute. That's all it takes, particularly when you have oil on the stove," said Lengel.

Around 11:15 that same day, Lengel said firefighters were called to a home on the 800 block of Feist Avenue.

"That fire was relegated to the malfunctioning within the heating system which ignited materials in the basement," said Lengel.

Lengel said three residents were displaced in this fire and they are staying with relatives. Steve Reeps, a neighbor who lives along Feist Avenue, told 69 News on Monday that the family was not home when the fire started.

"They were at church. It's next to heartbreaking when somebody is burnt out of their house," said Reeps.

Reeps said neighbors are wanting to help their friends pick up the pieces.

"Us neighbors want to do whatever we can. Some of us don't have much, but at least offer time and support," said Reeps.