Update: Flames Hit Building In Schuylkill County

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PORT CARBON -- Fire gutted a double block home early Wednesday in Schuylkill County.

On one side, a family made it out safely. On the other side, there was possible criminal activity.

Fire crews were called out around 6:30 a.m. to battle thick smoke and flames at a home on Coal Street in Port Carbon.

Firefighters found several marijuana plants inside one part of the double block home where a man lived alone. He wasn't home when the fire broke out.

Video taken by a neighbor on a cell phone shows how fierce the fire.

One neighbor said the fire in was so thick at that time, he had a hard time seeing across the street.

According to witnesses, five cats died in the fire.

On one side of the double block home, members of a family of three escaped the flames. The father told us smoke alarms may have saved their lives. And he told us they had no knowledge of what apparently was happening on the other side of the double block, where the fire broke out.

That's where crews found at least 25 marijuana plants and police suspect it was home to a large pot-growing operation.

Port Carbon's police chief told us he believes some of the equipment from the growing operation overheated and caused the fire.

No one has been arrested.

The owner of the building was talking to police and helping them track down the tenant in the side of the building where the marijuana was found.