KENNEDY – A massive fire destroyed two homes in Chautauqua County on Wednesday, with onlookers hearing several explosions just before flames broke out.
“I would say within 10, 15 minutes it was fully (engulfed), the back hadn’t been touched, but the whole front and middle was totally covered in flames,” said local librarian Dawn Swanson, who reported hearing explosions just before the fire broke out around 10 a.m. at a Second Street residence in Kennedy.
“I was down at the rec. program, at the basketball court, and my friends told me they saw smoke, I said it was probably a fire,” recalled Michael Robbins, who, alongside his mother and brother recalled the moments leading up to the destructive blaze.
“You could feel the heat all the way on the corner, here by the town hall,” explained Kennedy Resident Missy Robbins.
The intense flames provided a difficult task for those responding to help.
“By the time the first firefighter got to the hall, it was already fully involved,” explained Kennedy Fire Department Chief Keith Bean. “There was nothing they could do, it was trying to protect the rest of the surrounding (houses).”
The fire’s intensity has since destroyed the home where flames first broke out, a second home just next door will be demolished to contain any hotspots that might break out.
“It’s going to be a long night, I’ll be here for a long time,” said Bean.
Preliminarily, first responders believe all occupants of the home escaped without injury, however investigators are still searching through the rubble that remains.
As of reporting a cause of the fire remains unknown.