Erie's Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski, has ruled a fire, which damaged three Erie homes, as undetermined.

It broke out around 5:30 Thursday night along Reed street, near east 7th.

The fire destroyed one house, and damaged two neighboring homes.

Widomski went back to the fire scene Friday morning, but because of how badly damaged the house was, he could not get in to confirm and determine the exact cause of the fire.

However, he tells Erie News Now, he believes the fire started because of some children, playing near a hot water heater.

Widomski says the homeowner told investigators that kids were playing in the laundry room, and may have stuffed something into the burner of the hot water tank, which likely sparked the fire and brought out every on-duty firefighter in the city.

Because the second floor was caving in, Widomski says he could not safely enter the laundry room to confirm the information, hence why he has ruled the fire undetermined.

A mother and her five kids were inside the home that was destroyed, they all got out, although that mom had to go to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

The winds spread the fire to a pair of neighboring houses, and they suffered damage as well.

At least one of the other two homes that caught fire may have to be torn down.