Residents tried fighting Reading fire before calling 911, 2 found dead inside: Officials

READING, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Fire officials said residents inside a burning home in Reading, Pennsylvania tried to fight the fire themselves before calling 911. The fire left two people dead and five firefighters injured.

Firefighters were called around 9 p.m. Wednesday to the 700 block of Schuylkill Avenue.

Once on the scene, fire crews found the bodies of two people on the second floor of a row home. Their deaths are now the focus of an investigation that involves the Reading and Pennsylvania State Police fire marshals.

"There was a significant fire throughout the first floor, extending into the second floor as well as the third," said Reading Fire Marshal Jeremy Searfoss.

Eleven people were reportedly in the home at the time the fire started, most of them are teenagers. Searfoss said some inside tried to fight the fire themselves before calling 911.

The fire was upgraded to two-alarms as Reading firefighters battled the flames with help from companies in the surrounding area.

Jose Rodriguez, who lives three doors away from the house where the fire started said he saw three girls running across his front porch roof trying to escape the flames.

"They were crying. They said they're out of your house because there's a fire in my house," recalled Rodriguez.

Several doors away, Jashira Salame's eight-year-old daughter alerted her that she smelled something burning. Her family escaped unharmed but their house was damaged.

Five firefighters were injured in the process. They were all taken to the hospital to be treated for issues including smoke inhalation.

One of those who had been inside was injured when he attempted to re-enter the building to rescue those inside.

"He was treated for smoke inhalation and transported to the hospital," said Searfoss.

Fire officials have not released the names or ages of those killed until the autopsies are completed. The intensity of the fire caused complications in identifying the victims.

The home appeared to have smoke detectors, though it's not clear if they were working at the time.

Two neighboring homes also suffered damage.

Investigators have interviewed witnesses and are working to determine what caused the fire.
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