Lehighton family of 7 is displaced by fire
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Rob Christman, left, of 273 Bankway St., Lehighton, holds his dog, Oreo, after the pet was rescued by firefighters. Front, center, is his stepson Cody Hunsicker, 12, who tried to put the fire out and then alerted his family and the other five families living in the apartment building. The woman on the right is one of the residents of the apartment building.
Traffic on Bankway Street was tied up this morning when fire trucks blocked the main artery through Lehighton to halt a smoky basement fire at 273 Bankway St. The apartment is in a row home that houses six families.
Rob Christman, his girlfriend and their five children, were displaced by the fire.
Pat Mertz, assistant fire chief for Lehighton, said the fire started in the basement and was under investigation.
One of the children living in the home, Cody Hunsicker, 12, said that he opened the basement door to go downstairs for clothes, when he saw the thick smoke. He said he wrapped a towel around his head and went downstairs and tried to put the fire out.
"I saw flames near the dryer," said Hunsicker.
When asked if he was going to school, the young man said he wasn't sure as all his clothes were in the basement.
Hunsicker said he came upstairs and alerted his family and the other families living in the apartment building.
Mertz told Christman that the family could not remain in the home as electricity was shut off because the meter base was melted. Mertz also noted that there were broken water pipes, which likely happened because of the heat of the blaze.
Christman was concerned about the family's pets until they were reunited with their dog, Oreo, who was extremely excited to see Christman. The dog wiggled happily when he was handed to him by Hunsicker, who had gotten the dog from firefighters.
Christman said there were also two cats upstairs, which he said were fine.
Assisting Lehighton Fire Company at the scene were firefighters from Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Co., and assisting Lehighton Police were Franklin Township police and fire police.
The fire was under control within minutes, but firefighters remained on the scene to assist with clearing the home of smoke.
Mertz said that the fire did not impact any other families living in the complex.