Explosions heard, homes evacuated as flames light up neighborhood

Explosions heard, homes evacuated as flames light up neighborhood

CHESWICK, Pa. — Multiple explosions were heard as an intense fire burned through sheds behind homes in Cheswick late Sunday night, officials said.

The fire, which was reported about 11 p.m. on South Highland Avenue, forced evacuations of nearby homes.

"There were flames shooting probably 60 to 80 feet in the air, and it looked like it was blowing across the street. There was a lot of smoke and flames blowing … very fortunate to get water on the structure," Cheswick Fire Chief Rick Franks said.

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Flames lit up the neighborhood as two sheds in neighboring backyards burned. However, the fire did not spread to any homes.

"We were very lucky none of the structures in the immediate area were actually damaged at all. We do have some damage to the powerlines from the main house to the sheds," Franks said.

The people who own the shed where the fire initially started said their dog's barking alerted them to the fire and they jumped out of bed and called 911.

Dom Vizzo said he believes the damage to his property exceeds $30,000.

"There were explosions and the crackling. I worked in a steel mill for 22 years and worked near glass furnaces, and this was louder and more constant than anything I've seen in a steel mill," Vizzo said.

Propane tanks and gas cans are believed to be the source of the explosions heard, Franks said.

No one was hurt.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.