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3 properties damaged in Tamaqua fire

Three people are left homeless, three properties are damaged and two cats died in a fire in Tamaqua on Tuesday.

A Tamaqua firefighter was also evaluated for heat exhaustion but is OK.

The fire at 645 E. Broad St. heavily damaged the home.

“They might be totaling the property,” Tamaqua fire Chief James Connely said of the insurance company.

He did not have a damage estimate. State Police Fire Marshal John Burns is investigating. Connely said Burns is waiting for an insurance investigator to examine the scene for a cause.

The Schuylkill County Communications Center said the 6:54 a.m. fire call came in as smoke from the back of a house. Connely said the homeowners, Russell and Tracy Arnold, were not home at the time. Tyler Arnold, their adult son, was not home either. Two cats died.

“The fire started in the back porch area. Still trying to find the cause,” Connely said.

Two 20-pound propane tanks for a grill were on the back porch, he said. The contents were released, causing the fire to spread throughout the home.

“The tanks did not explode,” Connely said.

He does not know if the building had working smoke detectors.

“The building cannot be lived in at this time,” he said.

The three-alarm fire was under control at 7:47 a.m. When Tamaqua firefighters arrived on scene, the fire was upgraded to a second alarm. A third alarm was added for additional manpower.

Properties at 643 and 639 E. Broad St. sustained radiant heat damage. Kelly and Shawn Frederickson own 643 while Waldin Davis and Yugry Garcia own 639. They did not need to evacuate.

The Fredericksons have insurance. The other property is not insured.

Connely said American Red Cross was not called so he was not sure where the residents of 645 are staying.

Responding to the scene were the Tamaqua Fire Department, Tamaqua Rescue Squad, Tamaqua EMS, Mahoning Valley EMS, Coaldale Fire Department, Carbon County Rapid Intervention Team, and fire companies from Summit Hill, Nesquehoning and Humane and Good Intent from Pottsville. Hometown fire police also were there.

Fire crews from Schuylkill and Carbon counties battle a house fire in Tamaqua early Tuesday morning. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS