Firefighters from several western Lehigh County-area companies were called to a Fogelsville hotel early Friday evening following reports of smoke throughout the three-story building.
The two-alarm fire, reported about 6 p.m. at the at 230 Sycamore Drive, turned out to be nothing more than the aftermath of burning mulch, according to Fogelsville Fire Chief Jacque Creamer. A fire that was attributed to a discarded cigarette was extinguished by hotel personnel about 30 minutes prior to dispatch.
When the smoker opened the door to return to the hotel, smoke was sucked into the fire-proof stairwell and began to waft throughout the building, later prompting someone to pull a fire alarm, someone outside stated. Firefighters arrived to smell smoke and called for a second-alarm response when they could not immediately find the source, a fire official said.
Firefighters conducted a room-by-room search, ventillated hallways and stairwells and used thermal-imaging cameras to be sure there was no fire in the walls or ceilings.
Guests were led into the lobby about 7:45 p.m., where Upper Macungie Fire Commissioner Grant Grim told them how the fire started. He admonished that the hotel is a nonsmoking facility. Firefighters not only found the burnt mulch, but also discovered evidence that some guests had been smoking in their rooms.
Hotel personnel declined comment.