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Truck starts Palmerton garage fire

A large garage was destroyed by fire Saturday afternoon in Palmerton.

Borough fire Chief Jason Behler said firefighters were dispatched at 5:29 p.m. to 652 Lafayette Ave.

“There was a two-story detached garage in Alley G to the rear of 652 Lafayette that was fully involved, with multiple surrounding buildings in close proximity,” Behler said. “Also downed power lines because as the fire was burning, it melted down wires that ran to the house on Lafayette.”

Behler said both the Aquashicola and Bowmanstown fire departments were called to assist on scene. Aquashicola Fire Company was assigned to help minimize the spread of the fire, while Bowmanstown was assigned to go to the hydrants and boost the water pressure for the engine that laid the line.

“The majority of the whole second floor of the garage actually burned down onto the first floor, so it made entry into the garage very difficult,” he said. “It was all pretty much an exterior attack due to the amount of things in the garage; it really made it difficult because there was a lot of old bikes, also car parts, and the nature of the fire made it difficult having to be done from the exterior.”

Behler said the garage that was initially on fire was a total loss, and added there was minor extension into the garage on the west side that burned into the wall that caused some significant damage, while the garage on the east side just had very little fire extension into it.

He said the homes along Lafayette, along with the garages across the alley (those that had vinyl siding), a lot of them melted from the radiant heat.

Behler said there were no injuries.

“The homeowner was in the garage working on his vehicle and then went inside,” he said. “About 15 minutes later, his wife looked out the window and saw the garage was on fire.”

Behler said he believes the cause of the fire was due to the fact the homeowner was in the garage working on his vehicle, “and it just may have ignited something that he was unaware of and he went inside and it just slowly built from there.”

He said firefighters had the fire under control by around 7 p.m., but didn’t clear the scene until 8 p.m. to make sure there wasn’t any reignition.

Behler said Palmerton Ambulance also responded to the scene.

“Surprisingly, there were a lot of people that were coming up and down during the fire, which made things a lot more difficult to deal with,” he said.

“I would encourage anyone who would like to become a member to join the department and help us in that way.”

Firefighters battle a fire at a two-story detached garage in Alley G to the rear of 652 Lafayette Ave. in Palmerton on Saturday afternoon. The garage was a total loss. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
The owner reportedly found his vintage pickup truck on fire in the garage and backed it out and drove it up the alley in flames. COPYRIGHT LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS