Lehigh Valley

Fire damages historic building in heart of Bethlehem

Several businesses damaged

Bethlehem fire

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Crews battled a devastating fire in Bethlehem on Sunday.

The fire broke out just before 8:30 a.m. at a historic business building in the unit block of East Broad Street.

"Flames were shooting out of the properties," said Robert Grello, who lives nearby.

Several businesses were damaged in the fire, including law offices that are housed in the building.

Crews were able to contain most of the flames to one side of the building.

The owner told 69 News he'll be able to recover at least some of his records, but concern quickly shifted beyond the building on fire.

Crews worked feverishly to fend off flames at neighboring businesses, including a dry cleaner, but the inside suffered quite a bit of water damage.

"A lot of clothing, a lot of people's clothing, so sorry everyone, sorry," said Maryann Schoch, owner of Fashion Cleaners.

Schoch said she would be contacting customers individually about any damage.

"Broke down all the doors, ceilings are caved in, water damage throughout. The floors, walls, pictures broken," said Marlo Reppert, who lives in an apartment upstairs and was out of town when the fire erupted. "I cried. I thought for sure our building would be up in flames next."

Unsure of the fate of her home and belongings, she frantically gathered what she knew she couldn't live without: two cats and a pet turtle.

All circumstances considered, crews called Sunday's battle a success.

"The homes are real close, and businesses, and they kept it from spreading on both sides, so they made a good stop on this fire," said Chief Robert Novatnack, Bethlehem Fire Dept.

It remained unclear Monday what started the fire.

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