The fire that engulfed a duplex along Slatington's Center Avenue yesterday morning has displaced two families. Starting early Thursday morning in the first floor of the Lalik family's home at 405 W. Center Ave., the fire quickly spread, despite the morning's freezing temperatures.

Slatington Fire Department arrived at the scene at approximately 8:30 a.m., when smoke was said to have been billowing out of the building. Reports from the scene indicate that several respondents from fire departments across Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties aided the Slatington volunteers in fighting the blaze.

By 11:15 a.m., the fire had been put out, according to Slatington Chief of Police Dave Rachman. He said that both homes have been severely damaged, and will be razed in the coming weeks.

Peter Lalik, Jr., his wife Patricia Kliss, and the couple's four grandsons were home at the time of the fire's breakout, according to published reports. Lalik was able to exit the house via its roof.

Despite fracturing his ankle in the jump to the ground below, Lalik was able to catch his four grandchildren as they followed him down.

One of the children also suffered a fractured ankle during his descent. Kliss was eventually rescued by Slatington firefighters.

According to a statement issued by Janice Osborne, a representative for the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley, meals, clothing and toiletry items were provided to the Lalik family after their rescue.

Rachman confirmed that the six-member family was transported to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest for treatment.

The Red Cross reportedly met with the family at the hospital, and has pledged to continue its work with them during the recovery process.

The residency at 403 W. Center Ave. was vacant at the time of the fire. Lehigh County phone records indicate it is registered to James and Sherry Walsh.