Two homes in eastern Berks County were destroyed by fire Tuesday, April 11, leaving two dogs dead and both occupants displaced, according to authorities.
The fire was reported to the Berks County 911 Center at 1:21pm as a structure fire at 1639 West Philadelphia Ave. Earl Township Fire Company was initially dispatched, but as the fire spread, a 2nd alarm was struck before it was brought under control hours later.
Fire companies from Berks and Montgomery County were called to the scene, totaling roughly 100 firefighters. Approximately 12,000 gallons of water was used due to no fire hydrants in the area. Officials say no firefighters were injured fighting the fire.
According to Pennsylvania State Police, a neighbor discovered the fire and called 911. The neighbor alerted the napping occupants of the house by kicking in the front door. The neighbor’s quick actions saved the lives of an adult and child.
Unfortunately, two dogs perished in the fire. An occupant of the house was transported to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.
Through the investigation, it was determined the fire originated outside, to the rear of the house, near a shed.
The cause of the fire is undetermined, but no criminal activity is suspected.
The fire spread to an occupied residence, gutting the entire structure. The fire also spread to 1637 W Philadelphia Ave, causing extensive damage to the inside and outside.
Occupants of both 1639 and 1637 W Philadelphia Ave were displaced. Damages to 1639 W Philadelphia Ave are estimated to be in excess of $300,000.
Authorities say smoke detectors were present inside the home, but were not properly mounted due interior renovations.