HAMBURG, Pa. - A five-alarm fire, caused by careless smoking, gutted a home in northern Berks County overnight, officials said.
"I just saw a wall of flames coming towards the house," said neighbor Ann Miller.
Fire crews were called shortly before 1:30 a.m. to the scene in the 100 block of North Third Street in Hamburg. Officials said the flames gutted a three-story row house and caused smoke damage to the neighboring home before crews could contain the fire nearly two hours later.
"They're all older homes… that being said, there's a lot of void spaces that the fire can travel to… we had a lot of fire back behind walls that extended," said Dep. Chief Jarrod Emes.
"I was very worried, very worried indeed… there's no firewalls in the houses, and if the fire would spread, everything would go up like a matchbox," said Miller, who lives just two doors down from the blaze.
Fortunately, the families and pets inside each of the two affected homes got out safely, officials said. Both are now displaced and receiving help from the Red Cross.
Emes said a male firefighter was injured during the battle and transported to a hospital for treatment. He is expected to be OK.
Neighbors said the home was almost a century old and newly-renovated.
"It's a real shame, I mean I'm upset and I feel so badly for the owners," said Miller. "They loved the house. It was completely redone. It was beautiful inside and now everything's gone."
Allentown, PA 18102