The fire department put out the fire within 10 minutes, Fire Chief Ken Hanks said. No one was injured.
Shortly before 6 p.m., 5-year-old Cameron Bedat ran into her family’s apartment at 367 High St., yelling that the house next door was on fire.
His mother, Jillian Bedat, looked and saw flames she guessed were 15 feet high coming from the porch of 363 High St., and saw smoke pouring out.
“I grabbed the phone and I called 911,” she said.
The family made it safely out the back door. A full crew of eight firefighters responded, plus Hanks and Second Assistant Fire Chief Paul Russell.
The houses that caught fire are located on a hill overlooking the borough’s downtown district. Hanks said he saw the smoke on the horizon from his nearby Hillcrest Avenue home.
“Everyone on the whole east side of town could see the smoke column,” Hanks said.
The fire damaged the exteriors of both houses and warped the vinyl siding on a third house nearby. Bedat’s family is the only one living in their three-unit house, she said, which is under foreclosure. The owner lives in Florida, she said. The family does not have renters’ insurance, she said.
The family was told they would be able to re-enter the house, Bedat said, although Connecticut Light & Power had arrived to cut off service while technicians investigated possible electrical damage.
“We might not have power for a while,” Bedat said.
The porch of the vacant house and the damaged part of the porch next door will have to be demolished, Hanks said.
Police responded to the scene, blocking off High Street from the Maple Street entrance, and an ambulance crew was on hand as well.
After the fire was extinguished, the crew remained on scene checking for flare-ups. Acting Fire Marshal Robert Weaver arrived to determine how the fire started.
Two hours after the call, the cause of the fire remained unknown.