Dan Stamm

Massive Fire Destroys Historic Hotel in Lehigh County

The massive home once served as a hotel

A massive fire engulfed a former historic hotel that was turned into a home in Lehigh County Tuesday night.

The blaze started at the old Rockdale Hotel in North Whitehall Township around 6:50 p.m., Laurys Station Fire Company Chief Robin Hood said. Everyone in the converted three-story Rockdale Road home at the time of the fire made it out safely, said officials.

John Horwith, the 77-year-old owner of the home, told NBC10 the fire started in the chimney.

"I ran back in and I ran back out," Horwith said. "You couldn't see. It was that bad. You didn't take a second breath."

Firefighters from 15 different fire companies were able to bring the flames under control around 11 p.m., Hood said. 

No injuries were reported.

Fire officials said the severely damaged house was left uninhabitable.

The building originally opened as a hotel in the late 19th century and was used by coal miners who were transporting goods up and down the nearby Lehigh River. 

"It was cool knowing that it was a hotel at one time," said John Keinert, another resident of the home. "Plenty of rooms to play hide and seek in when you were a kid."

Officials say the fire destroyed the building as well as more than a century of history inside.

"I know the old original cash register and the bar was still in there," Keinert said. "Artifacts that you're not gonna find again."

Officials continue to investigate the cause of the fire.

Firefighters rescued at least one person from a large fire at an old hotel turned into a home in North Whitehall Township, Lehigh County Tuesday night.

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