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Apartment unit destroyed in Palmerton

  • LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Fire trucks circle the Delaware Avenue apartments during a Wednesday night fire.
    LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Fire trucks circle the Delaware Avenue apartments during a Wednesday night fire.
Published November 03. 2011 05:01PM

Two adults and two children are homeless after a fire destroyed a unit in the Delaware Avenue apartments Wednesday night in Palmerton.

The fire was first reported at the complex at 140 Delaware Ave. about 6:30 p.m. when neighbors spotted smoke coming from the door in apartment 204 on the second floor of the structure.

Palmerton police were the first on scene attempting to evacuate the sprawling structure, but were hampered by the heavy smoke.

A short time later, assisted by Palmerton firefighters, they managed to clear the building.

Fire Chief Dennis Behler said that based on a preliminary investigation, it appears the fire was caused by an electrical mishap.

"There was heavy smoke damage to an apartment on the second floor," Behler said. "There were no injuries, but there were several handicapped people we had to get out who have been accounted for."

Behler said firefighters had the situation under control within about 25 minutes.

Delaware Avenue was closed to traffic for several hours as members of the Palmerton and Aquashicola fire companies battled the fire and cleared the building of the heavy smoke.

Many of the occupants were able to get out on their own but several of the guests are wheelchair bound and needed assistance at the scene.

The American Red Cross was called into the fire scene to the aid the homeless, and provided lodging, meals, clothing and toiletry items, according to Janice Osborne, regional communications officer, American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley.

Osborne said in one apartment, one adult and two children were displaced, while one adult was displaced in a second apartment.

She said that Red Cross policy does not allow them to release the names of the victims for confidentiality purposes.

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