A four-alarm fire damaged five houses Wednesday night in the 100 block of North West Street in York City and led to two firefighter injuries.
The fire started in a vacant house at 127 N. West St. and spread to adjoining rowhouses, said York City Acting Fire Chief David Michaels.
All residents got out safely, he said. The blaze displaced 20 people.
He also said one firefighter suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face and wrist, and was treated and released at York Hospital. Another was treated for heat exhaustion.
Michaels said an investigation will continue Thursday to figure out the cause.
City fire crews were dispatched for a roof fire at 9:55 p.m., and a second alarm was quickly called.
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Subsequent third and fourth alarms were sent out for additional manpower because of the heat, Michaels said.
"It was a very hot night, we wanted to get the crews rotated," Michaels said.
Damage: The fire was mainly contained to rowhouses at 123, 125 and 127 N. West St., but 129 N. West St. also sustained damage.
Siding on a home at 121 N. West St., across Gas Avenue from 123 N. West St., melted because of the intense heat, Michaels said.
Michaels estimated the damage at $300,000.
Michaels said firefighters worked fast to keep the blaze from spreading to additional houses. About 100 firefighters were involved.
"We worry about a fast-moving fire," he said. "We got a lot of hard work out of the (firefighters)."
At one point, firefighters had to be pulled back from the blaze for safety because flames got too intense, Michaels said.
Fire crews remained at the scene throughout the night and into the morning to put out hot spots.
A state police fire marshal will help city fire officials determine the cause of the blaze.
Smoke: The fire was reported just as the 34th annual Fourth of July celebration at the York Expo Center and the York Revolution game at Sovereign Bank Stadium were letting out.
A number of motorists got caught in traffic when a section of West Philadelphia Street was closed because of the fire.
Tera Ogden, who lives at 121 N. West St., said she was watching the July 4th fireworks from her balcony when she heard a smoke detector beeping and saw smoke coming from the houses.
By the time she went inside, grabbed a phone to call 911 and returned to the balcony, flames were shooting from a roof.
"Ten seconds was all it took and flames were everywhere," she said.
Ogden sat on a neighbor's porch, making phone calls to friends, family and her landlord as firefighters tackled the fire. She said she feared her house might have caught fire from the intense blaze.
But when an official told Ogden that her home likely sustained only heat and water damage, she was grateful but kept her neighbors in mind.
"I can deal with that more than what my neighbors are dealing with now," Ogden said.
Second fire: José Delgado and his family of eight weren't so lucky. They live at 123 N. West St., and their home was heavily damaged.
When the fire started, someone came to the house and told Delgado and his family to get out, Delgado said.
The York-Adams chapter of the American Red Cross. was assisting the Delgados and other residents affected by the blaze.
Wednesday was the second time the Delgados were affected by fire. They lived at 119 N. West St. when a fire damaged their home in May 2008, displacing the family.
Evacuated: A number of adjoining homes in the half block affected by Wednesday night's blaze were evacuated, Michaels said.
Laura Mitchell and her family, who live a few doors down from the affected houses, were walking home from the York Expo Center when they saw the fire in their block.
They were told by fire officials to keep out of their home, but Ray Mitchell was allowed to go in to get their lovebird out.
"Our cat is still in there," Laura Mitchell said.
As the Mitchells waited out the fire near a ladder truck, Laura Mitchell said it wasn't the first time a fire happened in the block.
A few weeks ago, the house at 127 N. West St., where Wednesday's fire originated, caught on fire.
When Laura Mitchell smelled smoke from the first fire, she quickly called 911. Firefighters extinguished that blaze fairly quickly and contained it to that house.
This time firefighters weren't so lucky.
Helping out: Zack Smith, 17, of West Manchester Township was at his aunt's home on Madison Avenue in York City watching the fireworks when he and his friend, Nick Dunker, 17, of West Manchester Township saw smoke from the fire and went to see what was happening.
The two drove a few blocks but had to walk the rest of the way to the scene.
When Smith and Dunker got there, they saw a family, who were told to get out of their home at the corner of North West and Company streets, attempting to remove items from the home.
The two teenagers quickly sprang to action and carried everything from televisions to clothing and photographs from the home and loaded the items into cars.
"We got their stuff out," Smith said. "All the important things."
- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.