By Amy Wadas

RANKIN (KDKA) — Not one, not two but three structures were on fire in Rankin early Thursday evening.

Fire officials say a garage on Hamilton Avenue is where it started.

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“The first fire was on Hamilton Avenue. It was a heavy fire coming from the second floor. It appears the embers traveled over houses,” Fire Chief of Rankin Borough James Megley said.

Sources say someone was using a stove inside the garage for heat when it caught fire and traveled to a home on Holland Avenue. Fortunately, the 74-year-old woman that lives there wasn’t home.

“My mother has been staying with me,” Todd Cioppa said.

Todd Cioppa’s mom just got out of the hospital after suffering from congestive heart failure.

“If she’d have been here, it probably could have been deadly,” Cioppa said. “There’s a lot of smoke damage, a lot of water damage inside. We have a restoration company on the way. The power and electric was killed in it.”

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Fire officials say embers landed on a nearby vacant home catching it on fire.

Neighbor William Singleton says all of the vacant houses surrounding his home are a hazard.

“There’s so many of them I’m afraid something is going to catch on fire and then trickle over to our house,” Singleton said.

Local borough officials say the county is working to demolish vacant homes.

“The county gives us demolition money. So all that’s held up because their money is held up from the budget. We’re probably two years behind,” Council President of Rankin Borough William Price said.

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The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.