A vacant house fire Wednesday night in Altoona could have been much worse if it wasn't for the quick work of city firefighters who overcame a major obstacle: a very steep hill.
Firefighters had to work from the interior of the home at 1118 19th Ave., across the street from Wright Elementary School, because a city ladder truck couldn't traverse the hill, Altoona Fire Chief Reynold D. Santone said.
As the ladder truck was parked above the fire scene on 10th Street, firefighters got the blaze under control in about 20 minutes.
"You guys did a great job," Santone told Capt. P.J. Bracken after the air-pack-clad firefighter's came out of the house.
"We had fire dropping through both floors," Santone said to reporters.
Engine 311 dropped its 5-inch hose at the bottom of the hill where a hydrant was at the corner of the school and ran it to the fire. People standing across the street had to take cover as water shot out a loft where fire continued to burn about 30 minutes after the call.
The home was posted as vacant and uninhabited, Santone said.
A city codes enforcement officer responded to the scene.
The foundation of the home appeared to be bowing on the right side.
No one was injured. A damage estimate or owner information weren't immediately available. Altoona Fire Inspector Mike Tofano was investigating at late evening.
Tofano also said Monday night's fire on the 200 block of Fifth Avenue was intentionally set. That blaze damaged several homes.
The Emergency Disaster Services of The Salvation Army responded to provide water for the firefighters.