SHENANDOAH - A fire that destroyed two homes and damaged three others early Saturday morning remains under investigation.

Firefighters were called to 432 W. Centre St. about 3:45 a.m. Borough police patrolman Michael O'Neill, who arrived within minutes, said the entire back, upper floor of the home was ablaze.

Occupants of the home, Ann Morton and seven other people, were able to get out, but then tried to save their pets.

"It was completely orange," O'Neill said. "They kept trying to get back inside, but we were able to keep them out."

Shenandoah Fire Marshal Rick Examitas said officers may have averted a tragedy.

"The credit here has to go to the police department for getting these people out," he said. "It had a high potential for being a disaster with all the people that lived there."

Examitas said Morton is listed as the tenant of the home and had several people staying with her. Their names could not be confirmed Saturday but they were all left homeless by the fire.

Fire Chief Russ Schumack said state police fire marshal Trooper John F. Burns is assisting in determining a cause.

Schumack said it is believed the fire started on a second floor rear porch at 432 W. Centre St. He said the blaze does not appear to be suspicious.

Schumack said a vacant home at 434 W. Centre St. sustained heavy damage, as did a home at 430 W. Centre St.

An unoccupied home at 436 W. Centre St. sustained minimal smoke damage, as did a home at 438 W. Centre St. occupied by Leonard Selvocki. Schumack said Selvocki was evacuated but allowed to go back in later in the morning.

Examitas said the fire went to three alarms, mainly for manpower, bringing in volunteers from Girardville, West Mahanoy Township, Frackville, Ringtown, Ashland and Mahanoy City.

Schumack said one firefighter suffered a minor injury of bruised ribs and was taken to an area hospital, treated and released.

One resident of Morton's house also was treated at the scene by EMS and taken to a hospital with chest pains, but Schumack said he did not know the identity of that person.