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One hospitalized after fire in Schuylkill County

A 16-year-old boy was taken to the hospital with burns after a fire heavily damaged five buildings near Pottsville.

NEW PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The fire started around 10:45 a.m. Friday morning along Valley Street in New Philadelphia, which is right outside Pottsville

It then spread quickly to the adjoining homes.

Viewer video from Stephen Barrett shows smoke pouring from the roof of the buildings. 

Officials say the fire started in the kitchen at 161 Valley Street. 

A 16-year-old boy who lives in the home was taken to the hospital for burn injuries; there is no word on his condition.

People who live inside that home and one of the homes next door tell Newswatch 16 they did not have smoke detectors or fire extinguishers.

Firefighters from at least 10 departments spent several hours putting out the fire.

Crews managed to get back inside one of the homes and reunite a cat with its owner. 

Officials say three of the homes were occupied, and two were vacant, including a large building on the corner. That building, or at least part of it, will be torn down as soon as possible.

"I think that's been vacant probably for 20 years, maybe. It's in pretty bad shape. We were concerned about some of the roof actually falling into the street as we were battling the fire, so we cornered that off for safety reasons," said Brian McMullin, Blyte Township Fire Marshal.

Officials have not said when that building will be torn down.

A cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Route 209 was closed in both directions for several hours as crews battled the flames in Schuylkill County.

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