By Heather Abraham

LARIMER (KDKA) – Firefighters battled a row home blaze in Larimer early Monday morning.

According to officials at the scene, the fire started around 5:15 a.m. in the 500-block of Paulsen Avenue.

A neighbor woke up early this morning to the smell of smoke and quickly called 911. By the time the fire department arrived minutes later, flames were already shooting out of the home’s roof.

The fire spread to two other homes and caused severe damage. Another home also suffered damage, but the extent is unknown.

As crews worked to extinguish the fire, tears were shed as two families realized they lost everything.

“The officer actually called me and said, ‘Shiree are you at your home?’ I’m like, ‘No I haven’t been there in over a month, why?’ And she said, ‘Because your house is on fire,’” Shiree Pennybaker said.

“The occupants were all reported out of the building. The first crews arrived and found a significant fire in the end unit of a five-unit row,” Pittsburgh Fire Bureau Assistant Chief Thomas said.

The fire is believed to have started in Pennybaker’s home. She has been living with her mother for the past month.

She left most of her belongings behind, turned off the utilities and had plans to move out of the home on Tuesday.

“I was coming to get my furniture on [Nov. 1]. But, unfortunately I guess I got nothing to come get,” Pennybaker said.

Pennybaker spoke with fire and police about something that struck her as suspicious.

“They said when they got here, the front door was open and the living room was on fire,” Pennybaker said.

The assistant fire chief called it an aggressive interior attack and commended the firefighters for their bravery in fighting and working to contain the fire.

No injuries were reported to any of the firefighters or to any of the people who lived here.

The cause of the fire has been ruled as arson.

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