Allentown Warehouse, Heavily Damaged By Fire, To Be Demolished Tuesday, Fire Official Says

October 8, 2018

Intense Fire Engulfs Allentown Warehouse

Crews will begin demolishing the Franklin Street warehouse, which has burned and smoldered for more than 18 hours, on Tuesday, Allentown fire officials said. Because firefighters have not been able to enter the unstable brick and timber building, the demolition will also mark the beginning of the investigation into what caused the massive Sunday evening blaze, fire Capt. John Christopher said. “We’re not putting anyone in the building,” he said. “We’ve already had several floors collapse and the building is unstable.” Christopher would not give any indication into what caused the fire or whether it is deemed suspicious at this point, but he said the building has been without power since a fire in May and that may rule out that it was an electrical problem. The blaze was reported in the former storage building about 6:30 p.m. Sunday and Allentown fire officials immediately called for a full response of 35 city firefighters and backup from neighboring communities around Lehigh County, Christopher said. On Sunday, authorities cordoned off the blocks of North 14th, North 15th, Liberty and Gordon streets around the fire, which was in the 400 block of North Franklin Street. Some streets began to re-open on Monday, but the intersection of the 15th and Gordon streets remained closed. One firefighter suffered burns to his hands, was treated at the hospital and has since been released, Christopher said. Besides the heavy fire damage, Christopher said the building was heavily damaged by all the water used overnight to keep the fire from re-igniting. Flames were still visible through a third-floor window at 7 a.m. Monday as a pall of acrid smoke covered the neighborhood. “We used five elevated master streams and master streams from the ground,” he said. “We dumped tons and tons of water on it.” Christopher said the fire kept burning because of the way it was built with heavy timber. “It will keep burning,” he said. “The only way to put it out is to bring it to the ground and douse it.”

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