Family of 10 homeless after 3-alarm fire in Muhlenberg Township [update with photos]

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Aug. 5—Fire crews responded Friday to a house fully engulfed in flames in Muhlenberg Township.

The call was shortly after 1 p.m. in the 700 block of Wagon Wheel Lane in the Cherokee Ranch section along Fifth Street Highway, and soon escalated to three alarms.

Crews arrived and soon reported heavy fire throughout the house with a front porch collapse, according to emergency reports.

A family of 10 and one dog evacuated the house prior to fire crews' arrival.

A few people were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, according to Brian Kissinger, fire marshal with the Muhlenberg fire department.

The 90-degree heat posed a challenge for firefighters dressed in full gear, Kissinger noted, with one firefighter requiring a medical evaluation for heat exhaustion.

By 1:30 p.m., crews reported that the bulk of the fire was knocked down, and more manpower was requested. Three lines were in service with a search underway, according to the reports.

The fire was placed under control about 2:30 p.m.

An investigation into the cause of the blaze was underway later Friday afternoon, but the exact cause was still unclear at the time, Kissinger said.

He estimated total damage to the property amounted to about $310,000.

Firefighters and vehicles from 11 Berks companies were called to the scene.

More manpower was needed because of the hot conditions.

Further information was unavailable.