Lehigh Valley

'Devastating' fire causes $1M damage to greenhouse

Collapsed metal roof made crews' work difficult

LOWER MILFORD TWP., Pa. - A popular greenhouse is left to pick up the pieces following a massive fire in Lehigh County.

The fire at Dan Schantz Farm and Greenhouses broke out about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Lower Milford Township and could be seen for miles. The intense heat caused a portion of the roof to collapse.

"The steel roof structure collapsed and created pockets with fire underneath it," said 1st Asst. Chief Gary Focht, Lower Milford Volunteer Fire Company, "so in order to gain access to it, we brought in heavy equipment, which will pull the heavy materials off so we can add water to it. It's a time-consuming process, which will probably last most of the day."

Fire officials said the rural location of the greenhouse made fighting the fire problematic.

"Being a rural water supply operation, it's much different than operating off of hydrants," Focht said, "so we have to use tankers to bring in all the water for us, and the supply line makes it even more of a challenge, since it's going up hill."

Dan Schantz officials are calling the fire devastating, but said they're grateful it happened after the Christmas season and that no employees were present. The fire will have no effect on serving customers as the company maintains other greenhouse facilities.

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