Fire Forces 11 from Row Homes in Northumberland County

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COAL TOWNSHIP -- Fire forced 11 people from their homes in Northumberland County Tuesday morning.

The fire started around 8 a.m. in the row homes along 3rd Street in Ranshaw, Coal Township.

Five homes in total have been condemned, but only two of them were occupied.

One fire victim had given birth 12 days ago. She thought she smelled popcorn when she woke up, and she helped save her family when she found her home was on fire.

Pictures posted to Firewire Northumberland County on Facebook show what the row of homes where Cynthia Albertson lives near Shamokin looked like early Tuesday morning.

Albertson woke up because she thought she smelled popcorn.

"My nephew Damien just learned the microwave. I yelled down and said, 'Damien, are you playing with the microwave?' No one answered," Albertson recalled.

"I went back upstairs. I said something's wrong there's a smell! It smells like popcorn!"

Her yells woke up most everyone in the house, including a family friend who was sleeping upstairs where the fire started.

"And then it went. It went up like that, like instant," Albertson added.

"It was just all filled with smoke, could hardly breathe, didn't have time to gather anything, just had to get out of there," said fire victim Bob Santore.

The entire row of homes has been condemned. In all, 11 people are without a home. That includes a two-week old baby.

Albertson's stepfather owns the five row homes. She lives there with her parents and her two children. Maria, her youngest daughter, is just two weeks old.

"My sister lives here with her kids. She has animals out the bazooga so we had to get them all out. We have a bird in the stinking van," said Albertson, adding that she has no insurance.

The fire victims are being helped by the Red Cross.

The family believes an electrical problem sparked the fire. Investigators are still looking into the exact cause.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help some of the victims of the fire, those interested in donating can find that information here.

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