UPDATE: Here’s how you can help the Phillipsburg families displaced by a duplex fire
Fire crews were battling a roaring house fire Thursday morning in Phillipsburg.
The blaze was reported a little after 8 a.m. at a duplex on Glen Avenue, near Evelyn Avenue. The building was divided into four apartments, two on each side, Mayor Todd Tersigni said at the scene.
No one was hurt in the blaze, but a cat named Echo was rescued.
Witnesses reported flames shooting out of the first floor windows and the fire burning up into the second floor. Photos showed a wall of flames on the first floor that could be seen down the street.
A large plume of smoke could initially be seen from South Main Street, and by 8:46 a.m. dark smoke was still pouring out of the home.
A woman crying on the street said she lost everything after the fire started in another apartment then spread into her apartment.
Turrell Sutton, 36, was sleeping in the first floor apartment on the left side. He was visiting to help his friend who lives there move out this weekend.
Sutton heard the fire alarms going off, but said they would often go off for no reason, so he didn’t pay attention. Then, Sutton heard breaking glass and a man yelling for everyone to get out of the building.
When Sutton came out of the apartment all he saw were flames and smoke coming from the right half of the building. The flames headed up to the second story but quickly moved to the left and spread to the apartment where he was visiting, he said.
Sutton said his first instinct was to get everybody out, since there are a lot of children who live in the building. He ran to the other first floor apartment and kicked in the door, but no one was home.
Brittany Konke, 29, and her family live in the upper right apartment. Konke wasn’t home at the time but said everyone including Calvin Morgan, whose warning Sutton heard, and Konke’s three kids — a baby, 2-year-old and 8-year-old — were able to get out safely. Morgan heard the alarm, opened the door and was meet with smoke coming up from downstairs, Konke said.
Chris Nichols, 41, has lived in the upper left apartment for more than a year. He was taking his kids to school when he got a call that the neighbor’s apartment was on fire.
Nichols told lehighvalleylive.com that when he got back to the building, and his upper apartment was filled with smoke by that point, but there wasn’t any fire damage.
Nichols said there hadn’t been any fires before at the property, but also said that the building’s fire alarms would go off seemingly for no reason.
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Sarah Cassi may be reached at [email protected].