Community gathering around families displaced by massive Vandergrift fire

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VANDERGRIFT, Pa. —

The families displaced by Friday night’s massive fire in Vandergrift are receiving help from the community and the Red Cross.

Neighbors are coming together to collect food and clothing donations after flames destroyed three homes on Burns Street.

“It's just a tragedy. The neighbors have been great. Everyone is helping tremendously,” said Brian Bielek, who lost his home to the blaze that spread from an adjacent home.

Fire crews battled the intense flames and heavy smoke on Burns Street starting at around 10:30 p.m. Friday.

“I was lying on the couch and I heard a noise, and I looked outside my window and I saw the back of the neighbor's house engulfed in flames,” said Bielek.

“I heard this crackling sound. It sounded like metal being scraped,” said Lindsay Bielek, Brian Bielek’s daughter. “It was just orange. It was all a blaze. It was scary.”

Vandergrift Fire Chief Steve Potoka said, “It was a task to get it under control. We did have one hydrant that wouldn't open, and we moved down to another location.”

It took crews four hours to put out the flames. Two firefighters were hurt in the process.

Investigators said a neighbor may be to blame for sparking the blaze.

According to authorities, that neighbor, who has not been identified, had been found burning boxes near his home in violation of a burn ordinance earlier in the day. He was taken into police custody and cited for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct before being released.

He was taken back into police custody following the fire.

Brian Bielek said, "We'll get through it. It's just going to be a process, like everything else."

“I'm just going to take this experience and move on with it,” said Lindsay Bielek.