Dozens of residents were staying in a Westchester County shelter Sunday after a fire that officials are calling suspicious destroyed two homes and damaged a third.
The blaze began around 11:20 p.m. Saturday at a home on South Terrace Avenue in Mount Vernon, according to the Mount Vernon Fire Department.
Firefighters managed to get control of the fire at 2:20 a.m. Sunday, but only after two homes were destroyed and a third was damaged, fire officials said.
Two firefighters sustained minor injuries.
Several homes in the neighborhood lost power as a result of the blaze, ComEd officials said.
All the residents escaped unharmed, firefighters said.
A total of 32 adults and 12 children were displaced by the blaze, according to Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas. The American Red Cross is aiding those families.
"The city is at present taking everybody in at our armory facility and we're going to hold on to them to make sure they have a place to stay," Thomas said.
Mount Vernon Fire Chief Tom Duffy said the fire is suspicious and is still being investigated. Additionally, the mayor's office said "arson has not been ruled out."
Nastassia Edwards, who was displaced by the fire, said she had no time to think when she realized the fire next door had spread to her house.
"I was in the living room when I saw fire and I opened my front door and the fire was already coming in," she said. "I have a 1-year-old and a 6-year-old so I had to get them out. The baby was screaming and screaming, so I just ran out the house."
Edwards was able to enter her house Sunday morning, but she could only get essentials.
Hortense Jenkins and her relatives will not even be able to do that. They will be staying at a shelter, along with 10 other families left without homes.
Jenkins said she lost everything but is thankful her kids are safe.