SHENANDOAH, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An explosion woke up a neighborhood in Schuylkill County this morning as a propane tank caught fire; a fire which then ripped through three row homes. Eyewitness News reporter Haley Bianco was on scene to find out why row home fires are so devastating.
It started just after nine o’clock Wednesday morning.
“I just heard a sound, like a torch going off, looked out my window, got dressed, came out front and the house just exploded,” explained an eyewitness.
Neighbors tell us they saw a propane tank on the porch catch fire…And quickly spread to three row homes. The two-alarm fire brought out 10 fire companies.The family living here, and some neighbors all got out safely, but some went to the hospital as a precaution to get checked out..
Firefighters were able to put out this fire quickly, in about an hour, meaning they were able to save some of the neighboring row homes.
“The firefighters did a great job making an excellent stop, stopping it from spreading down the block,” said Rick Examitas, Fire Marshal, Shenandoah Fire Department.
Responding to row home fires has become the norm in old coal towns, like Shenandoah.
“It’s the way the construction has been built through out the years. Its unfortunate, they’re beautiful homes, but sometimes they’re hard to control and other times we get lucky. We had a real good stop on this one particularly,” said Examitas.
He tells us the old oils and thicker woods used to build the homes contribute to the quick-spreading fire. Firefighters in this region are trained to respond to row home fires, as it’s something that isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
“There’s no solutions. This is our town this is how it’s built. Unfortunately, this is what we have to deal with,” he said.
The cause of the fire has officially been ruled accidental.
The red cross was on scene helping to get shelter set up for those displaced. Pets inside the homes also got out safely.