Chester County duplex fire leaves nearly 2 dozen people displaced

Nearly two dozen people are without a place to stay after fire rips through their home on Easter Sunday. An entire row of duplexes in Chester County burned to the ground.

"I was having a good night’s sleep and about 3 a.m. there was a series of loud booms, you know, some of which shook the house," resident Gilbert Flowers, Jr. said.

Early Sunday morning, firefighters rescued Gilbert Flowers, Jr. from his burning home. He and nearly 20 of his neighbors in Parkesburg are having to find alternative arrangements for shelter, after the fire. The Red Cross helped Flowers, who is dealing with health issues. But, they can’t help him replace precious items, like his wedding ring.

"I didn’t take anything with me at that time, because I thought I would be coming back to the house to get all the rest of my belongings or valuable stuff that I needed," Flowers said.

Officials say the fire on the 1000 block of Washington Street started around 3 a.m. in the back of one of the duplexes and spread. It took 75 firefighters to control the fire and one was injured while trapped inside.

"The experience itself was nightmarish. This, you know, it’s like being part of a dream that you wish would end," Flowers added.

Many of the families displaced only had the clothes on their back when the fire started. During the day, the community came together to collect clothes, toiletries and even Easter baskets for the kids.

"A couple children were sleeping here when they were dropped off. And, they were left for them to see when they woke up. So, it was enjoyable to see a little bit of a smile on their face," Vice President of Parkesburg Borough Council, Todd Brady, said.

Parkesburg Borough Hall will be stocked with donated items for those impacted by the fire until Wednesday. Anything left will be donated to others in need.

"If the community still wants to give, gift cards are the best thing. As you can see, we’re overwhelmed with everything we have here," Brady remarked. "We have a lockbox on the front of the building where they can leave gift cards."

"The people that were able to assist me, gave me a lot of that hope that things will be all right," Flowers commented.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.