Buckeye Tavern Fire
High winds, an open floor plan and heavy timber construction joined forces in a blaze destroying the Buckeye Tavern, 3741 N. Brookside Road, according to Lower Macungie Township Fire Chief David J. Nosal.
No one was hurt and a cause is not yet known.
Winds clocked at eight to 10 mph with gusts in the low 20 mph range fed the fire, Nosal said.
"Windy days are not beneficial to firefighting," he said.
The restaurant, featured an open floor plan which allowed the fire to quickly spread. In addition, the building, built in the 18th century, was constructed of heavy timber and various other woods.
As a result the fire "intensified and increased in size very rapidly," Nosal said by telephone May 13. Nosal was on the fire scene until about 4 a.m. May 13. The fire was reported mid-evening May 12.
George Caldarelli, fire marshal for Lower Macungie Township, said at the scene May 13 the investigation was in early stages. Caldarelli expected to interview witnesses and employees and several people were gathered in a parking lot at Buckeye Tavern behind yellow caution tape and orange cones as Caldarelli spoke.
Fire personnel from Alburtis, Emmaus, Macungie, Old Zionsville, Trexlertown, Vera Cruz, Lower and Upper Macungie and the Woodlawn cascade unit responded to the fire. City of Allentown firefighters were on hand as a rapid intervention team to help firefighters at the scene. Nosal said approximately 75 firefighters re- sponded to the scene.
Firefighters knocked down the fire in about an hour, Nosal said. The chances of flare ups and fire burning beneath collapsed sections of the building kept a truck and personnel from Lower Macungie at the fire scene until about 10 a.m. May 13.
Nosal described the strategy used to battle the blaze as a "defensive attack" meaning firefighters did not enter the structure.
"We surround it and hit it with water," Nosal said of the strategy.
Firefighters connected hose from three hyrdants, including a hydrant on the property of nearby Bethany Church, 3801 Brookside Road and another hydrant at Eyer Middle School, 5616 Buckeye Road, an effort requiring 2,300 feet of supply hose, Nosal said.
Lower Macungie Township firefighters used equipment capable of putting 1,000 gallons a minute of water on a fire. However, Nosal said, maintaining a supply of such an amount of water is a challenge. Fire trucks cannot carry water in such amounts to a fire scene so hydrants are necessary and hose must be run to those hydrants, often requiring fire hose be placed in the street, a time- consuming process.
Multiple water sources were needed to address the Buckeye Tavern fire.
"Copious amounts of water applied consistently and constantly" were required to tackle the blaze, Nosal continued.
No firefighters, restaurant patrons or employees were hurt.
Trooper Michael A. Booke, fire investigator, said "the fire has been determined to have originated at the rear of the building in the vicinity of several commercial freezers. The origin and cause of the fire is currently under active investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal Unit.