Firefighters battle 5 house fires, cause unknown

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Firefighters from several departments including East Cleveland and Cleveland battled five house fires early Wednesday.

Crews were called to the scene on E. 125th St.  in East Cleveland just before 1 a.m. When they arrived, they found three houses on fire. The flames spread to two additional homes.

"Initially we had one house on fire that extended to the houses on either side," Lt. Mike Norman, Cleveland Division of Fire PIO, said. "Just the volume of fire required us to run some relay. In the process of running those relays we contained it as best we could, but it did spread to a fourth structure and then sparks go through the air got another house several houses down."

Firefighters from Cleveland Heights and University Heights also assisted in battling the flames.

Norman said three of the five homes were occupied. Everyone got out safely.

Norman said firefighters did have trouble getting water to the flames.

"The one aerial was set up. We just weren't able to get water to it for some time," he said. "That gave the fire a chance to get hold and do some damage."

"To fight this fire, the biggest issue for us was getting the water," he said.

"We have had a number of water issues. Had to run relays from some distance away," he said.

Norman said two of the homes collapsed and two others were heavily damaged.

The cause of the initial house fires was unknown. East Cleveland will handle the investigation.

The fires happened on the same street where a home exploded over the weekend killing a woman, critically injuring a man, and causing damage to 100 other buildings.

Stay with FOX 8 News and FOX8.com for updates on this developing story.