Set for tax sale, Reading rowhome, others damaged by fire


Investigators are on the case of a fire that erupted inside a home just hours before it was set for tax sale.

Firefighters were dispatched shortly before 7:30 a.m. Friday to the 1400 block of North Sixth Street in Reading.

The first crews on the scene reported finding that the fire had already spread to neighboring homes, prompting them to strike two additional alarms for extra manpower.

"It was a very labor-intensive fire," said Jeremy Searfoss, the city's fire marshal. "Some concealed spaces, a lot of that needed to be opened up, ceilings that needed to be removed to make sure when we were searching for hidden fires, so that we could stop the advance of the fire at that point in time."

There were no reports of injuries.

The home where the fire was reported to have started was listed for a 9:30 a.m. tax sale at the Berks County Services Center, according to the county's tax claim bureau.

Reading police officers were seen leading a man away from the fire scene in handcuffs, but so far, investigators have not provided information about any arrest. They also haven't commented on the fire's cause. The city's arson dog, Gracie, is assisting with the investigation.

The fire has displaced roughly a dozen people from their homes, officials said.