Blaze damages row houses in Chester, Pa.

Click play to watch the report from Action News' Katherine Scott
March 4, 2014 9:36:32 AM PST
Officials say a fire damaged several row houses in Chester, Pennsylvania early Tuesday morning.

Nobody was hurt in the blaze, but there was extensive damage to the home where the fire started.

The Red Cross is now assisting a family of five. And firefighters faced a number of challenges battling the blaze in the bitter cold.

"I was sleeping in the back and I smelled a little something," one neighbor told Action News.

People who live on the block soon realized a fire was burning nearby. Authorities say the call came in around 2:30 a.m. from the 2700 block of Price Street.

"When I came to the window, fire in the back of the house was sprouting out," said neighbor Damon Hammond.

Firefighters were met with heavy smoke. They went inside to battle the flames, but when the fire spread to the roof area they had to pull the interior crews and attack from the outside.

There were initial concerns about adequate water supply, whether the low temperatures would freeze lines and hydrants.

That turned out not to be an issue. But the cold was still a factor.

"Their gear iced up, helmets iced up," said Battalion Chief Charles Hopkins. "There was a real danger of hypothermia."

Indeed, you could see ice spanning helmets and sheets of it on the side of the home.

Even after the sun came up, icicles stretched from the home, which now has heavy damage to the second floor and roof.

In addition to food and clothing, the Red Cross is providing the family with a hotel stay since they're not able to return home.

There was no immediate word what sparked the fire. Fire investigators are working to determine the cause.


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