AVALON (KDKA) — Three families are looking for shelter Thursday evening after a raging fire destroyed one home and damaged three others in Avalon.

The fire started sometime after 11 a.m. in the 400-block of North School Street.

It took hours, but the flames are finally out. The home where the fire broke out is just a hulk of charred ruins. The homes are older, wooden structures, and they burn rapidly.

People in three homes scrambled to get out, including one woman who was asleep.

“I was shocked,” Taylor Cousins said. “I didn’t know what was going on, how the fire started. I just woke up. My first reaction was just get everything out that I could, like my animals, and obviously me.”

She was lucky. Her home only suffered water damage, but two others have extensive fire damage. The house where it started is a charred shell.

“You couldn’t even see the front of the house,” neighbor Xavier Rowsey said. “It was engulfed in flames. It was raging before anything, anyone even touched it. It was a crazy sight.”

And it could have been a lot worse. The Avalon police chief just happened to be on patrol in the neighborhood when the flames broke out. He helped everyone get out safely.

“I went back in the back door and got pushed out by the flames,” Chief Tom Kokoski said. “And then we just had to evacuate the house here. We got everybody out. The other house is vacant, luckily. But this fire was fast moving.”

But the chief suffered a minor injury on his wrist while rescuing a cat.

“I was trying to get a cat out of the house, and it bites me,” he said. “But I like cats though. You can put that on record. I’m a cat guy.”

The fire appeared to rekindle early Friday morning. Crews were called back to the scene around 2 a.m. They spent over an hour checking hot spots.

avalonfirefriday Avalon Fire Damages Multiple Homes, Destroys 1

Credit: KDKA/Brian Grystar

The cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed, but the fire is believed to have started on the front porch.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

Watch & Listen LIVE