NEW BRUNSWICK - Residents of three city houses were left temporary homeless today after a fire spread from the rear of one home to the other two. It was a blaze that firefighters discovered after taking a detour down a city street.

An engine was heading to the New Brunswick Hub Teen Center about 1 p.m. to "spray down" children in a summer program, but firefighters discovered a road was closed and had to turn down Delevan Street off Joyce Kilmer Avenue, said city Fire Director Robert Rawls.

"A lady stopped them and said her back porch was one fire," Rawls said.

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He said the firefights found a large blaze in the rear of 258 Delevan St., and that the flames had spread to neighboring homes at 256 and 260 Delevan street. Flames spread from the first floor up to the third-floor at each of the houses.

Firefighters from city and several other municipalities, including Franklin Township, East Brunswick, North Brunswick, Sayreville and South River, battle the smokey fire, with the additional personnel needed because of the hot weather, with the temperatures in the mid-80s, Rawls said. A cooling center was set up on the street.

Firefighters rescued one resident who tried to climb out a third-floor window in the house 258 Delevan St., the director said.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was still being investigated today, and inspectors were assessing the damage to the three homes.

The city was assisting the displaced residents in finding temporary housing.