Firefighter hurt while battling Pa. row home blaze

The firefighter suffered a shoulder injury while fighting the fire, which displaced 22 residents

By Pamela Sroka-Holzmann
The Patriot-News

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Twenty-two people have been displaced from their homes after an overnight explosion in Allentown.

Around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, residents were awakened by a loud noise followed by heavy black smoke and flames visible, according to city police and fire officials. Allentown Fire Capt. John Christopher said the incident began inside a home at 726 N. Fountain St.

Crews are working to find some pets that are unaccounted for, according to Christopher. A man initially unaccounted for has since been found, who was determined not to be home at the time of the blast, he said.

A row of homes from 714 through 732 North Fountain Street were damaged; at least 10 structures were being readied for demolition, Christopher said at 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

“It’s a mess right now,” he said.

There are no ongoing safety concerns, but the public should avoid the area, city police stated in a tweet.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation. Crews arriving on the scene didn’t initially detect an odor of natural gas, according to Christopher.

Two Lanta buses are being used as a temporary shelter.

WFMZ-69 News reported a firefighter sustained a shoulder injury while fighting the blaze, and was taken to the hospital. He has since been released.

The Greater Lehigh Valley chapter of the American Red Cross is working to assist the displaced families.

Five people in February 2011 were killed in Allentown in a natural gas explosion along the 500 block of North 13th Street in Allentown. A 79-year-old man, 69-year-old woman, 16-year-old girl and 4-month-old boy were among the deceased. In the end, the blaze destroyed eight row homes.


©2019 The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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