About two dozen people escaped a fire last night that damaged 12 rowhomes in the 5800 block of Cedar Avenue in West Philadelphia.

The 11:30 p.m. blaze appeared to have started on a porch around 11:30 p.m., police investigators said. Whipped by winds, the fire rapidly spread to the other two-story brick and wood-frame rowhomes.

All residents escaped unharmed, investigators said, but a 76-year-old woman had to be rescued by firefighters and taken to a hospital with respiratory problems.

Officials at the city's Licenses and Inspections Department said that four of the 12 homes were destroyed but that the rest would be habitable again once they were cleaned up. Two were vacant.

Fire officials said this afternoon that they did not yet have a cause of the blaze.

The three-alarm fire took about 90 minutes to put out, officials said.