Fire Rips Through More Than Century-Old Eatery, Injures 5 Firefighters

The fire chief says the fire started in the kitchen of Youell's Oyster House

Firefighters extinguished a restaurant fire that injured five of their own in Allentown Tuesday morning.

The three-alarm blaze broke out in the kitchen of Youell's Oyster House on the 2200 block of Walnut Street around 4 a.m., according to the fire chief.

Authorities confirmed all of the injured were firefighters and all were released from the hospital by Tuesday night, according to Allentown Firefighters President John Stibula.

  • Firefighter Jason Tatum, 39, suffered painful back and leg injuries after being hit and bent backwards by falling debris from a collapsing wall. 
  • Firefighter Wadih Atiyeh, 44, suffered a cut to the head and a concussion after being hit by a falling wall.
  • Firefighter Jack Bryant, 41, suffered burns to his forearm.
  • Firefighter Michael Achey, 44, suffered burns to his arms to ears.
  • Firefighter John Burkhart, 32, suffered an ankle injury during rescue efforts of the firefighter hit by the falling wall.

The cause of the blaze remained under investigation Tuesday night but there were no signs of foul play, firefighters said.

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