Crews battle fire at Palmerton apartment building, firefighter injured

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PALMERTON, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A large fire gutted an apartment complex in Palmerton Monday morning. None of the residents were injured, however one firefighter was hurt.

Aidan Haupt of Palmerton was inside his home, learning online, when he noticed the room was getting hazy. His sister thought it smelled like smoke, so the two ran out and saw the porch on the neighboring apartment in flames.

“My immediate instinct was it wasn’t that big so I tried throwing snow on it, maybe it would get it out. But I kept banging on their door. I broke their window with a baseball, kept screaming for them,” said Haupt.

Aidan’s quick thinking saved his neighbors, who were asleep. Courtney Waricher was on the way to work when her father called her back home because of the fire. She could see the flames rising from her house.

“I wanted to throw up to be honest with you. It was scary. A lot of the – I think about 10 of the residents came out. One had a two-year-old child. They just literally ran out. So we were all – the neighborhood, we were all coming out and giving them coats,” said Waricher.

The Palmerton fire chief tells Eyewitness News there are many challenges to fighting a blaze in this sort of weather.

“The wind with the snow storm hindered us more so that it just pushed the fire through the building a lot faster. And that was the biggest challenge we faced today,” said Chief Jason Behler.

Multiple fire companies from the area arrived on scene to help. One firefighter from Slatington Fire Department was injured while trying to save the building.

“We were doing salvage and overhaul in the front, while continuing to do some firefighting in the rear because they are two separate buildings. They were hit by a master stream nozzle,” Chief Behler said.

Fortunately the firefighter was not severely injured. Officials say the apartment building is a total loss.

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