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Commercial building fire goes to 3 alarms in North Whitehall

Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:37:47 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 16 2014 05:50:52 AM EDT

North Whitehall fire goes to three alarms


A three alarm fire Tuesday in Lehigh County left 61 cats and two dogs dead as well as three families and two businesses displaced.

The fire broke out around 12:15 p.m. at a building at 4703 Route 309 in North Whitehall Township.

According to Donald Jacobs, the North Whitehall Fire Marshal, the fire started in the kitchen of apartment 4701 A where al 61 cats and two dogs died.


Stephan Skweir, a gold-to-cash store on the first floor of the building, first noticed the fire when the electrical outlets in his office started malfunctioning.

When a staff member of his went to the bathroom in the back of his store, they noticed smoke pushing down from the upstairs.

Jacobs said that worker called 911 while Skweir went to get everyone upstairs out of the fire.

In one apartment he found two children who were hiding in a bedroom from the smoke. They got out safely.

Route 309 was closed between Sand Springs Road and Route 873 as crews battled the blaze.

The Red Cross was called in to assist the three five adults and two children living in three of the apartments in the building. The fourth apartment was empty.

An insurance company occupied part of the first floor as well.

Jacobs said one firefighter was taken to the hospital for what he thinks was heat exhaustion.

According to Jacobs, this was an old stage coach stop building built in the 1800s.