Friday, July 8, 2011

Moving mix-up on Easton's South Side leads to house fire, death of 5 dogs

By Tom Shortell, The Express-Times

Confusion over a move in Easton's South Side led to a house fire that killed five pit bulls this morning.

Capt. Henry Hennings, of the Easton Fire Department, said new residents at 606-608 Belmont St. lost power Thursday when Met-Ed mistakenly shut off the electricity at the Belmont Street address instead of their previous home. The family of five, who were cooking at the time, spent the night at a hotel and with family. However, they did not think to shut off their kitchen appliances before leaving, Hennings said.

When Met-Ed turned the power back on around 8 o'clock this morning, the appliances came back to life. A neighbor called 911 at 9:18 to report a fire, and firefighters at the South Side Fire Station a half-mile away could see heavy smoke as they left their Reynolds Street station, Hennings said.

Firefighters arrived at the scene within five minutes of the 911 call and had the fire out by 10:15 this morning, Hennings said. The 606 side of the home, which sustained fire and smoke damage, will not be livable for some time, he said. The 608 portion, which was already under renovations, will require some cleanup for smoke damage, but was otherwise fine, he said.

No one was home when the fire broke out, but a female pit bull and four of her puppies were caught in the fire on the first floor. A male pit bull and seven puppies in the basement survived, Hennings said.

The American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley is assisting the family of two adults and three children, according to a press release. They have provided them lodging, food, toiletries and stuffed animals.

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