Firefighters were called again overnight to the scene of a six-alarm fire in Mifflin County where investigators believe 27 row homes were damaged. The firefighters were redispatched to extinguish hot spots and found in debris from the initial fire, said Phil Lucas, director of the Mifflin County Office of Public Safety.
The fire initially broke out around 6:38 p.m. in a development on Terrace Boulevard in Juniata Terrace. Investigators believe that 27 units were damaged, but will have to inspect property records on Friday to confirm that, Lucas said. He estimated between 40 and 50 people were displaced by the blaze.
Five firefighters who battled the fire were transported to the hospital, according to Lucas. One suffered minor burns, another suffered an arm injury and three others were being evaluated due to smoke inhalation and exhaustion. No injuries to residents were reported.
“We’re very, very fortunate that all the residents were evacuated,” Lucas said.
A cleanup effort was ongoing Friday morning and officials are in the process of scheduling a meeting where they will discuss how to provide assistance for those who were displaced. The American Red Cross is assisting in that effort.
Lucas explained that interviews would be conducted with the residents who were affected, which will give officials a better idea of how many people need assistance. Many of the residents left the fire scene Thursday night to stay with friends and family, Lucas said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation by a state police fire marshal and a local investigator.
Lucas estimated that between 150 and 200 firefighters were called to the scene in addition to other emergency responders. Firefighters from Mifflin, Centre, Huntingdon, Juniata, Snyder and Perry counties responded to the scene.
The fire was easily one of the most severe in Mifflin County in the last 15 years, Lucas said. He compared it to another fire about two or three years ago where some residents were trapped in an apartment complex. No fatalities were reported in that blaze, either.
Written by Jeffrey A. Johnson