Bloomsburg Homes Ripped By Flames

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BLOOMSBURG -- Crews were called out Tuesday morning to a massive fire in Columbia County.

The fire broke out around 10 a.m. at the corner of 8th and Poplar Street in Bloomsburg.

When we were on the way to the fire in Bloomsburg, we could actually smell the smoke from nearly 10 miles away on Interstate 80.

Flames destroyed two houses, damaged another one and three people must find another place to live, all because of a fire that spread so quickly.

A home turned into an inferno. Video taken by a witness on the scene shows the flames ripping apart the house at the corner of 8th and Poplar Streets in Bloomsburg.

An hour later, one home was gone, leveled by flames and the house next door burning.  The fire destroyed it too.

The owner of the one house came home with her sister to find nothing left.

"She was worried about her animals because she has five cats and by the time we reached Bloomsburg, the house was gone and all the animals,” said the fire victim’s sister Melody Lewis.

Lewis said her sister lost everything, including her beloved cats.

All that was left standing of Gwen Zubler's house was a radiator.

"It's very sad and I ask ‘why does it happen?’ I don't understand."

"When she came down the street, I was up the street and she collapsed, lost everything,” said neighbor David Barnes.

Barnes actually considers himself lucky. He lives right across the street from the two wrecked homes. He's amazed his house is still standing, but it did have a lot of damage, the siding melted by all the heat.

"Oh, coming right through the windows was hot.  All my windows on the outside shattered on that side of the house,” said Barnes. "We could feel it through the windows. We got out before it completely, and it was completely engulfed, devastating."

Firefighters and neighbors say just as the fire started and just as the snow came, the wind came howling through, carrying the flames from the house right to the one next door.   They say it was the worst possible timing.

"I'm telling you I could say 10 minutes that home, practically, that home was engulfed in fire. It was that quick,” said Joann Kelly.

Kelly lives across the street too. She saw a small fire in one part of the house turn into all these flames.

"I'm just saying ‘thank you, Lord that it's not me.’  I'm sorry that it's Gwen.  I'm sorry about her cats.  She did so much work on that home, so much remodeling and she loved it.  I feel bad for her and the neighbor."

There is no word on the cause of the fire.