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Explosion And Fast-Moving Fire Destroys 2 Homes, Damages A Third In Vandergrift

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

VANDERGRIFT, Pa. (KDKA) - Two homes are destroyed and a third has extensive damage after a loud explosion and fire on Thursday morning in Vandergrift.

The fire occurred on Holland Street between Burns and Lowell streets.

Photo Credit: KDKA Photojournalist Jeremy Stockdill

Homeowner Rev. Robert Mills says he was awakened just around 5 a.m. by someone beating on his door. When he went to investigate, he heard an explosion at the rear of his neighbor's home.

"I got up to investigate, and I heard a very loud explosion. Like an incinerating device," he said.

The flames shooting out of the back of his neighbor's home were so intense he noticed the fire was reaching his place.

"I ran back upstairs, woke my wife up, and told her to put her clothes on, and said go on and get out of the house, it's on fire," Mills said.

Two homes are considered total losses, and a third has extensive damage.

In total, five adults were inside the three homes at the time -- all were able to escape.

The challenge for crews, the homes being almost right next to each other.

"Just having three structures involved. They're close together. We had rapid spread in both directions, right and left. Of course we took care of the exposures quickly and we worked on the main body of fire," Vandergrift Fire Chief Randy Dunmire said.

"I tried to go in, but the smoke was too thick, and I knew I shouldn't even had tried to go in there to get some personal items out," Mills added.

At least five fire companies responded to the scene.

Right now, a fire marshal is investigating the cause.

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