SHAMOKIN, Pa. --It was just before 6 a.m. when fire crews descended on North Franklin Street in Shamokin to find smoke and flames coming from more than half a dozen rowhomes.
"I came down and opened the door and I saw smoke and fire going on here," said Thomas Miller, who lives a few doors down from the fire.
Shamokin's fire chief says firefighters found two people on the second floor of one of the homes. The man was pulled to safety. The woman inside died.
The Northumberland County coroner identified the woman as Brea Scandle, 23. The coroner said she died from breathing in smoke. Her death was ruled accidental.
Crews cut holes into the roofs to get to the fire.
"Smoke! Heavy smoke. I mean you could see it from miles away!" exclaimed Leroy Lebo of Shamokin.
Battling the flames was one thing, firefighters also coped with the intense heat and humidity, cooling off when they could with water and a misting fan.
"With this early morning heat and humidity that's going on, we're a little tired. When you get fires in rowhomes like this you do get common attics, you have small spaces and the fire gets up in there and it just takes off," said Shamokin Fire Chief Stephen Jeffery.
Neighbors said living in rowhomes makes then constantly fear fires.
"I thought, 'Oh, my God,' because it's just too close for comfort just like my one coworker says that lives up the block. It's scary. I'm so afraid of fire. I said that many times," said Martha Miller of Shamokin.
"Somebody from the community passing away, it's rough on everyone," said Sierra Seiler.
People who live along North Franklin say it all happened so fast. Not only was the heat from the fire intense, but daytime temperatures reached into the low 90s, making conditions difficult for firefighters.
No firefighters were hurt while battling the blaze. One man was rescued from his roof, but he did not suffer any major injuries.
"I looked down the street and there were flames shooting out of the porch and I knew it was going to be something big," Audrey Wert said.
According to fire officials, nine row homes along North Franklin Street were affected, seven of which suffered major fire damage.
"I came out my back door and was walking down here to see my husband because he's a firefighter and the whole house was up in flames," Audrey Straub recalled.
One woman who lives next to a home that was damaged describes her morning.
"When I woke up, I saw some sirens outside, so I got up and looked three doors down and I saw a fire blazing out the windows and people screaming," Brianna Hollenbach said. "We're really lucky because it was right next door. The smoke started going in our house but luckily, no damage."
The Red Cross is helping those who need a place to stay.
A state police fire marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze.