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Row Homes Catch Fire in Mount Carmel

MOUNT CARMEL — Fire crews were called out Tuesday morning to fight flames in Northumberland County. A photo from the Northumberland County Firewire Facebo...
NUMB FIRE 4-26

MOUNT CARMEL -- Fire crews were called out Tuesday morning to fight flames in Northumberland County.

A photo from the Northumberland County Firewire Facebook page shows smoke pouring from the row homes in Mount Carmel. Smoke and flames could be seen for miles.

It was a devastating morning for the people who live on Beech Street. An entire block of row homes was damaged in a fire, and some of those houses were destroyed.

All but one of those houses was occupied. The fire displaced more than a dozen people.

The fire started around 8:30 a.m. Tuesday in one of the houses on Beech Street and quickly spread to seven of them.

The Ozment family lived in one of those homes for 16 years.

"I sent my daughter to school and I heard screaming and yelling.  I opened the door and the neighbor's house was on fire and they told us to get out," recalled Dorothy Ozment.

Dorothy Ozment's husband Scott was not home at the time.

"I was in Ringtown at work and my wife called me and I think I broke a few laws to get here.  But everything's OK and everyone's OK so that's what really matters," Scott Ozment said.

"Very scary," Dorothy added. "By the time we got the animals out and I got my son out, we went back in and it was filled with smoke."

Some people who live in this neighborhood saw the smoke and flames before firefighters arrived and quickly jumped into action. Neighbors banged on doors and some of them rescued a woman who is in a wheelchair.

All of these houses are attached, so it didn't take long for the flames to spread.

"I mean, look at all the houses around here.  It's sad.  People are going to have to be scared for the rest of their lives knowing that it's happened," Judy Rowe said.

"Unfortunately, it's the coal region.  It's something that's an everyday activity when we get a fire in the coal region.  You try and fight the fire as best you can," said Stephen Jeffery, Northumberland County Director of Public Safety.

The chief says the fire is under investigation because crews do not know what started it. The chief does not believe the fire is suspicious.

Even though his family is safe, Scott Ozment says that does not erase the panic that went through his mind.

"You're terrified for your family and your animals and your neighbors," he said.

Everyone who lives in these houses made it out safely but they all need someplace else to stay.  They are all being helped by the American Red Cross.

Code enforcement officers said at least two of these houses must be torn down.