(ERIE, P.A. - WICU/WSEE/CW) – The American Red Cross of Northwestern Pennsylvania is helping three families affected by a three-home fire on the city’s East side late Thursday afternoon.

The fire left one home destroyed and two others damaged.

Disaster Program Specialist Geoff Domowicz tells us three Red Cross teams came together to assist the 14 people affected, the group includes several children.

            Domowicz was surveying the damage Thursday night to see if the families will be able to salvage any personal items from the scene.

Fire crews from the Erie Fire Department went to the scene at 701 Reed St. just after 5:30. When they arrived, fire and smoke had already engulfed most of the home and had spread to an adjacent home at 705/707 Seventh St.

According to Erie Fire Department Chief Guy Santone, high winds then carried the flames to the home next-door at 703 Reed St.

701 Reed was considered a complete loss. The second home on Reed Street had heavy damage, while the home on East Seventh had minor fire and smoke damage to the attic.

Santone says every available unit in the department responded to battle the flames. It was a challenge for firefighters as they battled both the wind and the flames for several hours.

"I'll tell you what, the men and women of the Erie Fire Department are the best.” Santone said “I mean, they know what they're doing and they know how to be careful.”

Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski told us a mother and her five children were inside the home at 701 Reed when one of the children rushed in to wake up their mom to alert her of a fire in the laundry room.

"At this point here it doesn't look suspicious, but we're gonna dig in a little bit deeper and make sure." said Widomski

The mother made the initial 9-1-1 call and was taken to UPMC Hamot for smoke inhalation, but is expected to be okay.

Widomski interviewed the mother in between visiting the scene.

Four other people transported themselves to different hospitals with unknown injuries.

“Fortunately, everybody's fine right now." Santone said

 Widomski tells us he will not be able to fully investigate the full scene until Friday. Chief Santone says the structure at 701 Reed could be unsafe to enter.

This is an ongoing story, stay tuned to Erie News Now as we learn more details.