Fire claims 1 life, displaces 23 residents
The American Red Cross is providing aid to displaced residents and a GoFundMe account has been created for the family of a man who died in a fire Dec. 7 in Fullerton.
Emergency personnel were called to Spring Ridge Apartments, North 13th Street, about 9:30 p.m. According to a report on the Whitehall Township Bureau of Fire’s Facebook page, police officers were first on the scene and escorted residents from the complex’s J building.
Firefighters arrived and held the fire to one portion of a three-part structure. Flames could be seen shooting through the roof. Firefighters from Catasauqua, Greenawalds and Woodlawn stations also responded to the scene.
Pennsylvania State Police has concluded its investigation, and the cause is undetermined, Whitehall Fire Chief David Nelson said Dec. 10, adding the origin was determined to be in the bedroom area.
“This was a fast-moving fire, unfortunately with one victim,” Nelson said. “Our prayers go out to his family.”
Nelson said the smoke detector did activate in the apartment complex; however, he added, “had there been a sprinkler system in place, this could have changed the outcome of the fire.”
Cetronia Ambulance Corps cared for residents forced from their homes during the below-freezing night.
Red Cross responders were on the scene that night as well as the following morning, meeting with the displaced families and assisting them with lodging.
According to AJ Suero, regional communications manager for the Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania, 12 units were affected by the fire. A total of 18 adults and five children were displaced.
The township’s Emergency Management Agency also helped in locating emergency housing for them.
The fire claimed the life of Sean Mich, 49, who was pronounced dead 11:59 p.m. that night by Lehigh County Deputy Coroner Craig Hanzl. An autopsy was performed Dec. 10.
According to the coroner’s office, Mich died from smoke inhalation and thermal injuries. The manner of death has been ruled as undetermined.
A GoFundMe account has been created to benefit the family of Mich, who lived in a Spring Ridge apartment with his mother, identified as Joanne Sutton Lynch, for whom he acted as caregiver. The creator of the account identified herself as the girlfriend of Mich’s brother Jay. According to her, Mich was supposed to bring his mother home from a hospital stay but decided against it to allow her an additional day of rest there.
According to the account details, “Not only did [Lynch] lose her son, [she] has also lost all of her personal belongings in the fire and her place of residence as well.”
As of press time, $950 of the $5,000 goal has been met. To contribute to the GoFundMe account, visit gofundme.com/family-devestated-by-loss-of-sonbrother-in-fire.
No other injuries were reported, Nelson said.
He offered some suggestions especially pertinent this time of year.
“We would like to remind everyone to make sure that you water your Christmas trees, as well as turn off any Christmas lights before going to bed,” he said. “We also would like to remind the citizens that smoke is the No. 1 killer in fires. If you make it outside, do not go back into the structure.”
Suero said monetary donations are always gratefully accepted to help the Red Cross continue to assist with disasters of this nature. Call 800-REDCROSS or visit redcross.org to donate. It is possible to specify where your funds should be used.
Family, friends or organizations planning events to help those displaced by the Dec. 7 fire at Spring Ridge Apartments are asked to send the details to firstname.lastname@example.org to appear in upcoming editions of Whitehall-Coplay Press.