COAL TOWNSHIP — A state police fire marshal says there is too much damage to tell what caused a fire that spread to seven row homes in Northumberland County.
The fire started Sunday night on the second floor of one of the homes and forced several people out of their houses.
Some of the people who lived in the row homes near Shamokin came with boxes on Monday trying to salvage what they could. A few people said they were able to save some clothes but others said they lost everything in the fire.
Erica Kern and her sister Brittany grew up in a house on West Walnut Street near Shamokin. Their parents still lived there until smoke and flames ripped through the place and six other row homes.
“I couldn’t breathe. I got here and I immediately fell. I didn’t know what to say to my parents,” said Brittany Rumberger.
Kern moved out a few years ago and says she had one thing on her mind when she heard about the fire.
“Get to my parents as fast as I can and make sure they were OK.”
Police say no one was hurt but seven houses are damaged, four of them extensively.
“You always see it, row homes. It starts, moves left and right and takes down anything in its path,” said resident Calob Davies
Davies lives in one of the houses and was packing up whatever he could save.
A state police fire marshal believes the fire started on the second floor of one of the houses but says there is too much damage to know what caused it.
“It really hit home now,” Rumberger said. “This was my biggest fear: waking up one day and knowing my house was gone.”
“I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think it would ever happen to me,” Davies added.
The people who live there say this is a tight-knit community and neighbors have been reaching out with clothing and other donations to help out where needed.
“This neighborhood is a very friendly, family-oriented neighborhood and it’s happened right up the block before and we were here for them. Now everybody is here for us,” said Kern.
Officials in Coal Township say at least one of the houses and possibly four of them must be torn down because of extensive damage.