An elderly man has been hospitalized following an early-morning fire that broke out at a four-floor apartment complex in Slatington.
Borough Assistant Fire Chief Jason Nicholas told the TIMES NEWS the fire occurred around 5:16 a.m. this morning at the Fine Lodging Apartment at 700 Main Street.
Nicholas said the man - believed to be in his 70s - was transported to Palmerton Hospital with smoke inhalation.
Upon arrival, Nicholas said he could hear alarms of smoke detectors sounding from outside the building.
"There was smoke showing from the front door, and the building was in the process of being evacuated by Slatington Police," Nicholas said. "At first, we didn't have any idea what was burning."
Nicholas said fire marshal Paul Hoffman determined the fire was caused by a malfunction of a heating blanket that the male had on his bed.
"It was a working room and contents fire," Nicholas said. "The heating blanket caused the mattress and box spring to catch fire."
Nicholas said the fire was contained within about a half-hour. The whole building had to be ventilated, he said.
Residents who comprise the apartment complex - which Nicholas said has about a combined 30 apartments/rooms - were evacuated and congregated on the corner across the street from the fire. They were allowed back in by 7 a.m., he said. The injured male will eventually be relocated to another room in the building, Nicholas said.
Assisting Slatington were the Walnutport Fire Department, Palmerton Fire Department, Neff's Fire Department, Emerald Fire Department, Greenawalds Fire Department Rapid Intervention Team of South Whitehall Township, Palmerton EMS, and Northern Valley Ambulance Association, Nicholas said.
"The first truck was on scene within four minutes; they did an aggressive attack," he said. "This is just another example of great teamwork by everyone involved."