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Fire that destroyed four homes in Pottsville remains under investigation

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:24:41 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 23 2013 05:21:06 PM CST

Pottsvillle fire under investigation

POTTSVILLE, Pa. -

Officials are still trying to determine what caused a massive fire that tore through four row-homes in Pottsville, Schuylkill County.

The fire sent three people to the hospital, and 10 were forced out of their homes less than a week before Thanksgiving.

The call came in just before 4 p.m. Friday.

"Initial report was heavy fire coming out of somewhere in the area of 217 Schuylkill Avenue," explained Pottsville Assistant Fire Chief Jason Witmier.

"You just saw these huge, huge smoke stacks coming up out of the houses,"described neighbor Katlyn Blevins. "It was incredible, like nothing I've ever seen before in my life."

The blaze quickly spread, and engulfed four homes. Two other houses were evacuated as crews fought the flames.

"Tried to make sure everybody was out of the structure, and prevent it from spreading even further at that point," added Witmier.

Fire fighters from five different departments worked to get the fire under control. A total of ten adults and children were forced out of their homes.

"We had to transport three civilians to the hospital," Witmier shared. "They all had minor injuries, some smoke inhalation, shook up by the fire."
One firefighter was also injured, and a cat is still missing. Neighbors say they felt helpless as the blaze destroyed part of the block.

"Just stood out here, watched all the commotion because there was nothing else we could do," Blevins said.

Officials say all four of the houses are a complete loss. One suffered a major collapse inside.

"Nobody was inside the structure when it collapsed," Witmier explained. "We had already evacuated because we knew there was a threat of a collapse."

Right now it's not clear where the fire started, and officials haven't even began investigating what sparked the blaze. Folks living in the area are counting their blessings tonight.

"With houses this close together it could have been the entire neighborhood," Blevins added.