FOREST CITY -- Fire crews spent hours battling a massive blaze that destroyed two homes in Susquehanna County.
Crews were called out around 3:30 p.m. Friday after the fire broke out in one home, then spread to the house next door.
Thick smoke poured from two homes in Forest City as fire crews raced to tackled the massive blaze that broke out first in this house, then spread to the one next door.
That fire in the 700 block of Delaware Street was so large that smoke could be seen billowing over tree tops, drawing onlookers out from all over the borough.
“So sad, it was terrible. My daughter and I saw the smoke and we got here before the fire trucks,” said Carol Kameen. “It was unbelievable, so sad.”
“I'm devastated, my heart is broken,” said Dolores Kowalewski.
Kowalewski owns the house where the fire first broke out.
She says she was burning trash in her backyard.
“I was home in the backyard, cleaning up, burning a little bit of cardboard and threw water on it and then I went to cut the grass,” said Kowalewski. “And then when I looked I could see all the flames so it evidently got caught somewhere.”
“From my understanding, the lady was burning garbage in the back and that's what sparked the fire,” said Joe Winans.
Unfortunately, fire officials say currently no one in the county is allowed to burn anything.
“The county has an ordinance that's in effect for no burning of any type which expires at midnight tonight so that's up to the police department,” said Forest City Fire Chief Paul Lukus.
Still, both homes are a total loss and everyone in the borough says their hearts are with the homeowners.
“It's very sad, you have two houses,” said Patricia Striefsky. “I mean, the poor lady lost her house and her car, everything, it's very sad.”
“I'm heartbroken for her, everything she has is in that house,” said another neighbor.
A state police fire determined the fire started when an ember from the burning cardboard got under a back deck.
The fire was ruled accidental. The Forest City mayor says a total of six people are displaced from the fire.
The fire chief told Newswatch 16 that because crews were tapped into hydrants for such a long time, residents should boil their water if it appeared brown. However, Pennsylvania American Water officials stressed there is no water boil advisory in effect.