Two Reading row homes were damaged by a fire Wednesday, displacing a total of seven people.
Fire crews were called to the 1100 block of Chestnut Street just before noon and discovered a fire in the rear of row homes at 1109 and 1111 Chestnut St.
Fire Marshal Jeremy Searfoss said Thursday that a resident of 1111 Chestnut St. was at home when the fire started. The resident smelled something burning and saw smoke coming out of the rear roof of his home.
The resident called 9-1-1 and fled the building. He tried to alert the residents of 1109 about the blaze, however no one was home.
Searfoss said fire crews were able to quickly control the fire, but crews had to open up parts of the buildings’ roofs and ceilings. Met-Ed was called in to cut service to the buildings.
The fire appears to be electrical, Searfoss said, originating where power lines entered 1109. Before Met-Ed cut power, firefighters saw the lines arcing.
Both homes had to be temporarily condemned due to loss of power and damaged roofs, Searfoss said. That means seven people — two from 1109 and five from 1111 — were displaced and are being assisted by the Red Cross.
The home at 1111 sustained $10,000 to $15,000 in damage. The home at 1109 sustained about $10,000 in damage.
No one was injured in the fire.
Searfoss said some luck was involved in the fire not being worse than it was.
A brick “party wall” that runs between the two homes helped slow the spread of the flames, and the fire broke out in the middle of the day with a resident home and able to detect it.
“It would have been a completely different scenario if it happened at 2 a.m.,” he said, adding that both homes had some of their smoke detectors removed.
Source: Berkshire mont