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Fire in Pottsville Leave 10 Homeless, Destorys Four Homes

A fire Friday night destroyed four homes in Pottsville and left 10 people homeless
Pottsville, Schuylkill County - Heavy smoke could be spotted from Route 61 on Friday as firefighters battled a blaze on the 200 block of Schuylkill Avenue in Pottsville.

"I tried with the fire extinguisher, there was bags of clothes back there and they started burning," Robert Weiss, who lives in one of the homes that burned, said. "I just got right out."

Weiss had little time to think because his grandparents live right next door.

"My grandmother lives right aside of me," he said. "I had to go over and get her out quick."

Weiss considers himself lucky to be alive.

Nicole Spitler lives on the other side of Weiss. She told Eyewitness News that she was home with her three kids when the fire started to spread to her house.

"I came out with just a shirt on, wrapped up in a blanket," Spitler said. "They gave me pants and flip flops and they gave my kids coats and shoes."

Firefighters said the original call came in around four o'clock for smoke pouring out of a house on Schuylkill Avenue. They believe the fire then spread to three others.

One house collapsed on the inside due to the amount of damage. All four of the homes are a total loss.

"It's unfortunate when you loose anything," Jason Witmier, the Assistant Chief of the Pottsville Fire Department, said. "We have some tough neighborhoods here (there are) real tight streets. A lot of the structures are what is known as balloon frame construction and it can help spread a fire quickly."

Witmier said three people who lived at the houses had to be taken to the hospital. He said they suffered minor injuries and smoke inhalation, but mentioned they were expected to be okay.

The Red Cross is helping the families, but the four families, who lost everything, are left with nothing just days before Thanksgiving.

"It changes Thanksgiving plans obviously," Spitler said. "It was supposed to be at my house but that obviously won't be happening now. I have my kids. That's what I have to be thankful for."

There's no word yet on what caused the fire. Witmier said firefighters would be working with the Pottsville Police department to determine a cause.
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