FORT WAYNE – As Thursdays oppressive heat lingered into the evening, firefighters battled a blaze that burned three houses in a downtown neighborhood.
Fort Wayne Fire Department spokeswoman Stacey Fleming said 605, 611 and 615 Sturgis St. caught fire near Broadway and West Jefferson Boulevard.
David Chester, 40, lives across an alley from the three houses that sit closely side by side. Chester said he was in the alley working on his car when he heard a popping sound and saw flames spread from a backyard to one of the houses and then to another.
He said he called 911 about 7 p.m. to report the fire.
Lisa Moore, who lives around the corner from the three houses, said she looked out her kitchen window, saw one of the houses burning and also dialed 911.
The back of the house was just totally engulfed in flames, she said, covering her mouth with a rag as brown smoked rolled past.
Moore, 46, and her mother evacuated their house, and a neighbor closed their windows for them.
Were definitely going to have smoke damage, she said. Im hoping they wet our roofs down.
As firefighters hosed the three houses, now smoldering, Jamie Fox, 20, and Jason Bracht, 30, sat on their porch with a cat that had escaped one of the houses.
She was under severe, like, smoke inhalation when we first got here. There was foam coming out of her mouth. She was having trouble breathing, Bracht said as Fox held the female calico cat in a wet towel. Now she seems to be doing pretty good.
With temperatures still in the high 90s, firefighters were seen taking water breaks.
Fleming said some firefighters were treated at the scene for what were likely heat-related injuries. No civilians were hurt, she said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.