Fire in Reading: 2 firefighters hurt, 10 residents displaced


An intense fire in Reading damaged three rowhomes and sent two firefighters to the hospital Thursday afternoon.

"We're talking floor-to-ceiling fire. No one survives something like that, so at this point, we're very lucky that no one was injured," said Jeremy Searfoss, Reading's fire marshal.

Charred remnants were tossed out a window in the 200 block of Rummels Court, off of Moss Street, as American Red Cross workers assisted 10 people who have to find another place to stay.

"We are out here to provide assistance to all the families that were affected by a multi-family fire," said Matthew Breidenstein, Tri-County Chapter of the Red Cross. "What does that mean? We will be providing assistance with lodging we have funds for that. As well as immediate needs."

When firefighters responded to the blaze around 1:30 p.m., they weren't sure if anyone was inside. Initial reports indicated someone may have been trapped inside, but a search proved that not to be the case.

Firefighters also had trouble getting equipment in to fight the fire.

"Most of what we do is hand-walking things in, handwalking hose lines in or apparatus further distances away," Searfoss said.

A second alarm had to be struck due to some of the challenges, including the heat and humidity. That brought in firefighters from Spring Township and Mt. Penn.

"Some of our guys you can see are sitting down, cooling off, taking their personal protective equipment off. They're getting some water," Searfoss said.

Two firefighters were hospitalized for minor burns and released.

Meanwhile, the property owner is also reaching out to the tenants.

"We want to try and help them find another place to live while the property is being repaired," said Alicia Bressler, the property manager.

Those on the ground with the American Red Cross will be placing people temporarily in hotels.

Searfoss is still working to determine the cause of the fire.