WELLSVILLE - The state fire marshal has been called in to investigate a blaze that destroyed several Commerce Street homes and damaged others nearby early Sunday morning.
All occupants were able to escape the burning homes without injury, according to officials.
Details were still sketchy Sunday afternoon, but preliminary reports indicated the fire department was alerted at 2:15 a.m. for a blaze that started in a home at 1224 Commerce St. owned and occupied by Mark Van Kirk.
This photo taken by retired Wellsville firefighter Robert Lloyd shows the intensity of an early morning fire Sunday which destroyed several homes on Commerce Street and damaged others. The occupants were able to escape without injury. (Submitted photo)
According to fire officials, the Van Kirk home burned to the ground and was not insured.
The fire extended to an adjacent home at 1222 Commerce owned by Kenneth Hayhurst and occupied by Brittany Blake, according to a fire department dispatcher, who said the residence was insured.
A house at 1220 Commerce owned by Tammy VanHorn, which was reportedly vacant, and another at 1228 Commerce owned by Nina Graves and occupied by Misty Shaw were also severely damaged by the fire, the dispatcher reported. He said Graves' house was insured, but it was unclear whether or not VanHorn's was.
Additionally, houses at 1301 Clover owned by Kayon Travers and at 310 13th Street owned by Dallas Beal suffered damage to their siding from the intense heat from the blaze.
Wellsville firefighters were assisted on the scene by Highlandtown Fire Department, with Liverpool Township and Irondale fire departments on standby at the Wellsville station. Calcutta and Glenmoor fire departments were also placed on standby for Liverpool Township.