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Fire Spreads to Five Houses

COAL TOWNSHIP — Firefighters say smoke and flames could be seen from miles away Tuesday night on West Mulberry Street near Shamokin. It broke out around 8...
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COAL TOWNSHIP -- Firefighters say smoke and flames could be seen from miles away Tuesday night on West Mulberry Street near Shamokin.

It broke out around 8 p.m.

Soon after the fire started, Thomas Traver got the call no one wants to get.

"I was really nervous when they told me the address was 917 and that's hitting close to home. I found out it's my aunt's house," Traver said.

Traver's aunt Joanne Doyle owns the house where the fire started and lived there with four other family members.

"It's devastating," Traver said.

Traver says his aunt is recovering from open heart surgery and turns 71 on Christmas Day.

"Christmas was, you know, a day away and bam. That's really hurting," Traver said.

Traver says his aunt and the other relatives living in the house are staying with family. He also says the family will have their annual Christmas Eve party with no mention of the fire.

Firefighters say at least five houses were damaged in the fire, and a relative of the woman who lives there said her attic was severely damaged when the flames spread.

"Jarod came out to find out what all the noise was and just saw the smoke coming up and he yelled, 'Gram, we've got to get out right now,'" Judy Snyder said.

Snyder's nephew Jarod and his grandmother live in this house on West Mulberry Street in Coal Township. They are now staying with family in the area, but Snyder says this is all so frustrating, especially right before Christmas.

"Trying to get insurance agents to come on a holiday is a tough thing," Snyder said.

The state police fire marshal says there is too much damage to determine what started the fire, but says he does not believe it is suspicious.