Firehouse fire turns deadly; at least one person dead

Author: , Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published: May 24 2012 08:00:00 PM EDT   Updated On: May 25 2012 10:35:59 AM EDT
LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. -

A fire where crews thought everyone escaped with their lives, has now turned deadly.

Early Thursday afternoon a dump truck crashed into the Leithsville Volunteer Fire Company in Lower Saucon Township.

What was not known until late Thursday was there was a second vehicle involved in the accident.

Now the coroner has confirmed one person is dead.

The driver of the dump truck, Michael Thomas, 42, is currently at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Cedar Crest listed in stable condition.

Northampton County coroner Zachary Lysek says because of the intense fire, crews never knew someone else was inside.

Flames so intense that fire crews from three counties were called to help fight the three alarm blaze.

Terrence Getz was working just feet away from the Leithsville Volunteer fire station when he heard a bang around one Thursday afternoon.

"It was in flames," said Getz. "I was going to try and go in the front and those flames were pouring out then we saw him coming out the passenger side and he walked out and we grabbed his arms and helped him across the street."


View Leithsville Fire Company in a larger map

"It appears that he was coming down Flint Hill Road to 412 and crossed over and went right into the front of the fire station," said Sgt. Thomas Barndt, investigator from the Lower Saucon Township Police Department.

Then as crews looked for hot spots and were able to investigate further.

"There was in fact a second vehicle involved in this crash and there is at least one fatality at this time confirmed," said Zachary Lysek, Northampton County Coroner.

Investigators say crews will remain out on the scene late into the night.

State Police are recreating the accident, but there is still a question as to whether anyone else was in the station at the time of the fire.

"There was an extensive fire that occurred inside to the point where vehicles were destroyed so it's going to take a considerable amount of time before we can confirm whether or not there is any additional bodies," said Lysek.

Much of the investigation has been focused on the rear of the building.

The Lower Saucon Township Police Department is asking for anyone that may have witnessed the accident to call the non-emergency number at (610) 759 - 2200.