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Fire Damages Row Homes in Ashland

ASHLAND — Flames broke out Friday afternoon in a block of homes in Schuylkill County. Six row homes sit on the 900 block of Walnut Street in Ashland. At n...
ashland fire

ASHLAND -- Flames broke out Friday afternoon in a block of homes in Schuylkill County.

Six row homes sit on the 900 block of Walnut Street in Ashland. At noon, flames shot from the roof of the house in the middle.

Rosie Kroh, 79, lives in the row home two down from the one that caught fire. Friends knocked on her door and coaxed her out just as she sensed something was wrong. After the fire was out, she went back inside to get medication.

"In the attic, there's water and smoke damage.  But you can smell the smoke downstairs," Kroh said.

At a row home at the other end of the block, Tiana Menne, 16, was just catching her breath after she rushed into the smoke-filled unit to rescue a neighbor's six cats.

"It was very smoky, like, I kept getting a little dizzy.  It was pretty scary."

Neighbors are concerned because this is the fourth fire in a 10-block area of Ashland since October. One fire was just a block away, the other four blocks away.

This time, the building may not have to be knocked down.

It took firefighters about an hour to get the fire under control using the ladder truck known as Brutus.  It's 57 years old.  The fire company has been trying to retire it for several years.  But on this day, Brutus did its job.

Kroh wonders when and perhaps if, she'll be able to move back into the row home she and her husband moved into back in 1972.

The Red Cross offered shelter. She said no thanks, as several friends and relatives offered to let her stay with them.

A fire marshal is investigating the cause.

Neighbors say vagrants have broken into some of the empty units and they wonder if any of them are responsible for what happened.

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