SLATINGTON, Pa. -

Firefighters battled a vicious fire that damaged several homes, including one of a former mayor, Wednesday afternoon.

The fire started just after noon on West Franklin Street in Slatington, Lehigh County. It quickly went to three alarms.

"I got on scene, within a minute it was fully involved, already extending into two other additional homes," said Chief Keith Weaver, Slatington Volunteer Fire Department."We had five houses it had extended into upon our arrival."

Weaver said firefighters were busy fighting the fire when they noticed the roof was about to collapse, so firefighters had to be pulled out of the building briefly.

"We threw a lot of ground ladders to the third floor, a lot of ground ladders to the second floor, hand lines," said Weaver. "We had three pumpers pumping on the hydrant systems."

Twelve to 15 people in five families were displaced, including a former mayor of the borough, David Altricter, and his family.

"It's terrible," said Eleanor Meckes of Slatington. "Everybody is okay, but you can't replace everything that you've lost."

Meckes' daughter lives in one of the homes heavily damaged by smoke. She said her daughter was able to get her love birds, but is still looking for her cat.

"Oh man, this is a mess," said Angela Schew. "It's overwhelming. It's hard to process."

Neighbors said they will help those displaced in any way they can..

Investigators are still looking for the cause of the fire.