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Officials: 9 kids, 4 adults displaced in York City fire

Liz Evans Scolforo
505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

Children and adults made it out of two York City row homes safely Monday morning, thanks to a neighbor who rushed to help after spotting flames and smoke, York City Fire Chief David Michaels said.

Firefighters work a structure fire at 600 Salem Avenue in York City, Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Zaavan Butts, who lives about a block from the homes that burned at 600 and 602 Salem Ave., told The York Dispatch he was walking home after breakfast about 10 a.m. Monday morning from The SteakOut in WestSide Cafe at the corner of West King and West streets.

No one was hurt when fire erupted at 600 and 602 Salem Ave. the morning of Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, officials said.
(Photo courtesy of Pat Rose / York City Department of Fire and Rescue)

"I just saw all this fire, so I rushed down there," he said. "It was spreading rapidly."

Also, electric lines to the homes were sparking, Butts said.

He ran to 600 Salem Ave. first, at the corner of West Street, where he banged on the door and alerted a mother to the danger, he said.

"She had a bunch of kids that I helped get outside," Butts said.

Michaels said two adults and five children live there.

Crawled through window: Then Butts, 23, ran next door to 602 Salem Ave., where a woman was sleeping inside, he said.

He said he ended up having to climb through a window to get inside and wake her up.

York City fire officials said neighbor Zaavan Butts alerted two families to a house fire and helped children escape safely.
(Liz Evans Scolforo photo)

She was startled, Butts said, but he let her know right away that she needed to move quickly.

"I was like, 'Fire! Fire! Fire!' and I grabbed her baby and we got out," he said.

Two adults and four children live at 602, according to the fire chief.

Michaels praised Butts for getting involved.

The chief noted that if crews had been alerted even five minutes later than they were, flames could have traveled to the roof of the homes then spread to other connected row homes.

Butts said the fathers of the children from both 600 and 602 hugged and thanked him for his efforts.

Displaced: Nine children and four adults who live in the two row homes have been temporarily displaced and are being assisted by the York-Adams chapter of the American Red Cross, the chief said.

No one was hurt in the fire, he said.

When city firefighters arrived, they found the second-floor rear balcony of 600 Salem Ave. engulfed in flames.

It appears that's where the fire started, Michaels said.

Firefighters clean up after dousing a fire at 600 and 602 Salem Ave. in York City on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016.
(Dawn J. Sagert photo)

"Crews did a good job," the chief said. "They got the fire knocked down pretty quickly."

There is some damage to the back of both homes, but it's repairable, Michaels said. A damage estimate was not immediately available.

Also, electrical lines were damaged, so there is no power to the homes at this point, the chief noted.

Fire officials said the blaze was extinguished by about 10:45 a.m.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.