IRVINGTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A fire broke out inside a home in New Jersey and quickly spread to two others Wednesday morning, with all three suffering major damage.
The flames broke out inside a vacant home on South 20th Street in Irvington just after 7:45 a.m.
The fire tore gutted that home and spread to the buildings on either side of it, which are also believed to be complete losses.
"All of a sudden, coming from the gym, me and my wife...smelled smoke," victim Kevin Lowe said. "Neighbors banging on my door to kick it in practically, and told me my house down the street was on fire."
Kevin Lowe felt completely helpless watching the flames inch closer and closer to his two homes. He and his loved ones were able to get out safely, but the fierce blaze quickly consumed the vacant home along with a neighboring house and Lowe's second home.
"When you came outside, it was the whole sky, and it was smokey," witness Jamir Jones said. "The whole street was smokey. So everybody had to evacuate...I'm just happy we evacuated in time and nobody got hurt."
A witness called 911 while area residents frantically banged on neighbors' doors.
"I was taking my daughter to school this morning and smelled smoke," Rodney Henderson said. "A driver was driving through, and he wanted to kick in the door this morning. And I was like, no, I'll call 911."
Several fire departments responded, and one firefighter suffered minor injuries.
Seven people, including three children, were displaced and are now receiving help from the Red Cross.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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Fire tears through 3 homes in Irvington, children among the displaced