The fire marshal investigating Thursday night’s eight-alarm fire in Juniata Terrace, Mifflin County, says he estimates the damage at $6 million, after more than two dozen homes were damaged or destroyed.
Mike Force said the fire began after someone living at 332 Terrace Boulevard was cooking French fries and left the kitchen unattended. Fire crews ran into challenges battling the fire, including insufficient water supply in the area and the wind. Many of the rowhomes, which date back to the 1920s, were also connected to each other in the attic, allowing the fire to spread more easily from home to home.
Force said part of the reason the damage estimate is so high is the cost of bringing the homes up to code once they’re rebuilt.
Juniata Terrace Mayor Rich Lockett declared a state of emergency in the borough, which is near Lewistown. A curfew is in effect beginning at 10 p.m. each night. The curfew could last a week, Lockett said. Fire police will guard the homes damaged by the fire.
The Red Cross and United Way are helping the 15 families affected by the fire. In all, 25 adults and 14 kids were displaced.
Anyone interested in helping can make a donation at any of the branches of Juniata Valley Bank in Mifflin County.