Residents escaped a fire Wednesday night at a home the 1500 block ofNorth Ohio AvenueinAtlantic Citythat was undergoing renovations.

Harry Roberts was home with his brother, sister and 89-year-old mother when he said the blaze started at 7:06 p.m. in the back kitchen of the two-and-a-half story home.

Everyone was out of the house before firefighters arrived, he said. The only living thing unaccounted for is the family's housecat, he said.

Chief Dennis Brooks said the building was undergoing renovations and had many openings in walls and ceilings allowing the fire to spread quicker than normal. The house suffered between $75,000 and $100,000 worth of damage, but it could have been a lot worse, he said, noting the firefighters on scene attacked the blaze very quickly and efficiently.

The department brought in salt trucks because of ice on the road and sidewalk, and called in extra firefighters to relieve those at the scene because of the cold. When they first appeared on the scene there was so much smoke they had a hard time determining which house was on fire, he said. In the cold temperatures the smoke stays low to the ground and moves out slowly, he said.

"They did a good job in really tough conditions," he said. "That's what being a firefighter is all about. When the chips are down, call the fire department."

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