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Fire Station Burns After Dump Truck Crashes Into It

The Leithsville Fire Station in Lower Saucon Township was heavily damaged Thursday afternoon when a dump truck loaded with blacktop crashed into it, sparking a massive blaze.

UPDATE, 6:30pm: Palmer Township and Upper Bucks 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. According to recent scanner reports, all or part of the building may be in danger of collapse. As of 6:15pm all units were being ordered to "stay clear of the building."

on Route 412 in Lower Saucon Township , 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.

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.

Keri Maxfield May 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Thanks for the excellent photo coverage Josh. I know many of us were anxious to see and hoping everyone was ok, but didn't want to add to the traffic in the area. Being at work when something major is going on in your community is difficult. Thanks for helping me feel connected to what was happening. Thanks to all those who responded.
Josh Popichak May 25, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Thanks Keri. It's good you avoided the area because the smoke was terrible. I have a lot of respect for the firefighters who willingly put themselves in these situations on a regular basis. And I'm glad I was able to keep everyone updated and informed today.
Christina Georgiou May 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Rte. 412 is still closed due to the fire. Scanner reports estimate it MAY be reopened in about five more hours. However, it is possible Rte. 412 may not reopen until tomorrow morning. Best to still stay clear of the area.
Vida Frankenfield May 25, 2012 at 02:41 PM
We in Hellertown are praying for the burn victim and the family of the deceased, The firefighters need to be recognized for their courage in fighting this most terrible incident. Vida Frankenfield
Richard Hafner May 28, 2012 at 03:19 AM
Horrible crash/fire, however great photo coverage.

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