Upper Macungie Helps Cover Hellertown Fatal Fire
Upper Macungie Fire Department is helping to cover Hellertown after a dump truck crashed into the Leithsville Fire Station sparking a massive blaze.
Upper Macungie's volunteer fire companies are reportedly covering the Hellertown area this evening, as local fire crews remain at the scene of the badly-damaged Leithsville Fire Station.
The Leithsville Fire Station on Route 412 in Lower Saucon Township burned early this afternoon, after a dump truck loaded with blacktop reportedly lost its brakes traveling down Flint Hill Road and crashed into one of the building's three street-facing bays.
The dump truck driver, 42-year-old Michael Thomas, is reported to be in stable condition at Lehigh Valley Hospital. WFMZ is reporting that the person who is confirmed dead was found inside a second vehicle in the ruins of the fire station.
Northampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek said the investigation into the incident has revealed the possibility that multiple vehicles were involved in the crash that sparked the fire, but declined further comment, according to The Express-Times.
According to recent scanner reports, all or part of the building may be in danger of collapse. As of 6:15pm all fire department units were being ordered to "stay clear of the building."
At about 2:15pm the multiple-alarm fire appeared to be under control, although portions of the heavily damaged building were still smoldering and being doused with water.
June Schoenenberger, a Leithsville Road resident who lives two doors from the station, said she ran outside when she heard a large bang caused by the accident, and quickly realized that the fire station was on fire.
Schoenenberger said she frantically called 911 while friends who were working on a project in a neighbor's yard ran to the aid of the dump truck driver, who reportedly suffered serious burns.
The unidentified driver was taken to the hospital by EMS.
No other injuries have been reported so far, although many volunteer firefighters at the scene appeared fatigued from fighting the intense blaze, which was made worse by the explosion of oxygen canisters and the fact that diesel vehicles were parked inside the building.
A temporary staging facility where bottled water was dispensed to overheated first responders was set up in front of a home near Hersh Lane and Leithsville Road, which is several doors from the fire station.
Schoenenberger praised the rapid response by volunteer fire companies from throughout the Saucon Valley and beyond, but said a weight restriction needs to be placed on vehicles that travel Flint Hill Road, which intersects with Route 412 in the village of Leithsville.
She also lamented the fact that there are no fire hydrants in the area, which meant that tanker trucks were the primary means of fighting the blaze.
Fire companies from as far away as Upper Macungie Township were at the scene of the fire as of 2:15pm.
And throughout Leithsville and environs, a choking, acrid smoke hung in the air, making it unpleasant to be outdoors.
However, many area residents stood along Leithsville Road, which was still lined with emergency vehicles and police cars, and remained closed south of Apples Church Road.
On the east side of the fire station, Leithsville Road remained blocked as well.