13 in Birdsboro displaced by fire sparked by candle

Firefighters from 3 counties responded to call

BIRDSBORO, Pa. - Firefighters from Berks and two neighboring counties knocked down heavy flames and smoke that ripped through a business and several homes in Birdsboro.

"The place was just in flames. There were two holes cut out on the roof to ventilate the smoke out," said Mario Di Nenna, the owner of the property where the fire started.

Now, the flames from the three-alarm fire are out, but the damage remains.

Officials said a candle started the fire in the 100 block of North Furnace Street. It caused more than $200,000 worth of damage, according to authorities.

"How fast can I get there?" asked Eric Stankiewicz, who owns some properties near the fire. "And I was pretty far away, so that wasn't good."

Stankiewicz owns the two properties on either side of where the fire started. All eight of his tenants had to find somewhere else to spend the night.

"We are very lucky. We got this minor smoke damage, a little bit of water damage. The units next door are pretty much gone," he said.

Stankiewicz's tenants will likely be back in their homes in the next week or so, but in the meantime, he said they can stay in his house like they did Thursday night after the fire.

But the five tenants who live and work in the two badly damaged properties aren't that lucky.

"I contacted all of them this morning. They seem to be fine. They're, you know, in temporary places right now," said Di Nenna. "I'm just going to keep them posted as new developments occur."

Three firefighters and one EMS worker suffered minor injuries, but have since been released from the hospital.

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