Lehigh Valley

Building materials source of smoky blaze

The Bethlehem fire erupted Thursday afternoon

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Fire officials in Bethlehem said roofing materials were to blame for the fire that generated a massive plume of smoke above an industrial park near Interstate-78.

But the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Firefighters responded to 3419 Commerce Center Blvd. Thursday for a blaze that broke out about 3:30 p.m. Bethlehem Fire Chief Warren Achey said the fire on the roof was deemed under control about 9:30 p.m.

Workers were putting down roofing materials that were flammable, when the fire started, Achey said. About 25 percent of the roof was damaged.

Achey said no injuries were reported.

The city's emergency management coordinator said Thursday that fire officials called a second alarm to bring in additional resources. He said the roofing materials were the cause of the heavy smoke.

A spokesman for Majestic Realty, which is developing the Majestic Bethlehem Center in LVIP VII, said Thursday that there was no tenant in place yet for the 1 million-square-foot building. The project is located next to a Walmart distribution center.

Achey said fire investigators were on scene Friday morning along with the city's inspections department and a structural engineer to inspect the building.

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