East Penn Press

Monday, May 21, 2018
PRESS PHOTOS BY APRIL PETERSONFire destroyed a single-family home in the 3000 block of Bleiler Road, Upper Milford Township, in a morning blaze Oct. 17. ABOVE: Heavy smoke fills the sky as a firefighter works from a ladder truck to direct water into the fire. PRESS PHOTOS BY APRIL PETERSONFire destroyed a single-family home in the 3000 block of Bleiler Road, Upper Milford Township, in a morning blaze Oct. 17. ABOVE: Heavy smoke fills the sky as a firefighter works from a ladder truck to direct water into the fire.
The rural location of the fire required fire companies to transport water by tanker trucks. ABOVE: Trucks pump water into a pop-up retention pool for use at the scene. The rural location of the fire required fire companies to transport water by tanker trucks. ABOVE: Trucks pump water into a pop-up retention pool for use at the scene.
Firefighters stand behind caution tape in the front yard of the residence after ordered to evacuate the house due to threat of collapse of the structure. Firefighters stand behind caution tape in the front yard of the residence after ordered to evacuate the house due to threat of collapse of the structure.
Flare ups and cleanup require fire crews remain at the scene into the afternoon. Flare ups and cleanup require fire crews remain at the scene into the afternoon.

Fire destroys home; displaces family

Thursday, October 27, 2016 by APRIL PETERSON apeterson@tnonline.com in Local News

Fire destroyed a residence in the 3000 block of Bleiler Road in Upper Milford Township in a morning blaze Oct. 17, displacing a family and filling a quiet neighborhood with smoke.

According to public Lehigh County property assessment records, Jamie J. and Peter J. Klopchin own the single-family residence at 3468 Bleiler Road. The house is in the Church View Estates subdivision of Upper Milford Township.

Maynard and Barbara Dreas had the house built in 1983.

On Oct. 17, Maynard Dreas was among those at the fire scene after a relative reached him by telephone to tell him of the fire. Dreas now lives in Emmaus.

“At first I wasn’t going to come out but I wanted to come and see it,” Dreas said while standing in the yard of a home across the street from the house he called home for 17 years. He and his wife downsized, sold the house and moved into Emmaus, he said. He had done work on the home over the years while he lived there.

Firefighters fought flames under bright skies on the unexpectedly warm fall day. An aerial water truck poured water through the roof of the house to combat the flames. Due to the rural location of the fire, tanker trucks hauled water to the scene and emptied loads of water into pop-up retention pools. There are no fire hydrants near the site.

Tanker trucks from fire companies in Vera Cruz, Upper and Lower Milford, Upper Saucon, Upper and Lower Macungie townships; Alburtis, Seisholtzville and Greenawalds and Hereford responded to the fire scene. Emmaus and Macungie ambulance crews also arrived to provide medical assistance to residents and first responders.

No one was hurt in the fire. Three pets, however, died in the residence, Joseph B. Sherman, fire chief of Citizen’s Fire Co. 1, Vera Cruz, Upper Milford Township, said at the scene.

North Penn Goodwill Services, Souderton and the Red Cross also provided services. Emmaus Fire Police controlled traffic.

Mel Doney noticed the garage of the residence was on fire while she was making breakfast at her nearby home. Doney, who has lived on Bleiler Road more than 50 years, was in her garage when she saw flames and heard sirens of approaching first responders.

“It hits hard,” Doney said of the fire. “I hate to see somebody not have a home.”

Cathy Zandarski-Oehmke also lives in the neighborhood.

“They are lovely people,” Zandarski-Oehmke said of the Klopchin family. “I talked to them.” A trained EMT, Zandarski-Oehmke volunteered to help. She has lived in the neighborhood 23 years.

“I went home and cried,” Zandarski-Oehmke said of her reaction to the fire. “I just thank God nobody is hurt,” she said.

Cpl. William J. Brett, a Pennsylvania State Police fire marshal and investigator based in the Dublin barracks, Bucks County, said he had ruled the cause of the fire to be undetermined. In a brief telephone interview Oct. 24, Brett noted the fire started in the rear of the home in a shed near the sun room. The fire moved quickly, he said. The state police investigation of the fire is closed, Brett said.

As of Oct. 19, donations for the Klopchin family were being accepted at the Child’s Future Early Learning Center, 8700 Breinigsville Road, Breinigsville. Girls sizes 10/12; women’s large; and men’s extra large to 2XL sizes are needed along with women’s shoes 5 and 8.

Lehigh County assessment records list the Klopchins’ as owners of the residence since July 2003.

Dreas said the residence included three bedrooms upstairs, one bedroom on the main floor along with a living room, a kitchen and breakfast nook. Three small steps led to sunken family room.

A special feature of the house was the sun room overlooking the rear of the property and framing views of open fields and trees.

“It was beautiful, Dreas said.