Archive for category slatington

Wildfire damages 2 Lehigh County homes ahead of wintry weather (PHOTOS)

The forecast shift in weather was expected to cut an “enhanced risk for the spread of wildfires.”

A wildfire Thursday spread from a wooded area in Slatington onto two properties, damaging two homes, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Bureau of Forestry.

It was reported about noon along the 200 block of Diamond Street in the Lehigh County borough.

“Luckily it was close to a road and no houses burned down,” Assistant District Forester Rick Deppen said from the scene. “If this would have been in the middle of nowhere, this would have really taken off, but it was easy access for the firefighters.”

No one was reported injured, and the fire was out as of mid-afternoon, Deppen said.

The fire affected only 0.38 of an acre as a westerly wind fanned it onto the residential properties.

In addition to the two homes, a shed, pool, outdoor toys and pickup truck cap were damaged, he said.

“There was quite a bit of damage,” Deppen said. “Those houses back up to a wooded hillside. It’s not more than, probably less than, 80 feet and you’re in a wooded area.”

Deppen responded to investigate the fire and said he had an idea of the cause but wasn’t ready to release it as the probe continued.

Firefighters also dealt Thursday with brush fires reported in Bushkill, Oxford and Mansfield townships.

How much can it snow in March in the Lehigh Valley?

The National Weather Service said the region was facing “an enhanced risk for the spread of wildfires for the rest of the afternoon. Relative humidity values are in the teens and lower 20s with west winds 15 to 25 mph with 30 to 35 mph gusts.”

Conditions were expected to improve after sunset, with rising relative humidity and diminishing winds ahead of rain forecast to change over to snow for the Friday morning commute.

Quick moving storm will produce a swath of snowfall tonight-Friday across eastern OH, much of PA, the NYC metro area & southern New England

— NWS Eastern Region (@NWSEastern) March 9, 2017

Weather service forecasters were predicting 3 inches of snow for the Lehigh Valley and slightly higher amounts to the north and west.

I know everyone’s excited for Tuesday’s potential, but we have tonight/tomorrow AM first. EPAWA final call:

— EPAWA Weather [?] (@epawawx) March 9, 2017

“The snow will become moderate to heavy at times late tonight and early Friday morning before tapering off late in the morning.” the weather service said in a forecast update. “Lingering snow showers may occur Friday afternoon and evening. …

“Roads will become snow-covered and slippery. Poor visibility in heavier snow will create hazardous traveling conditions. The Friday morning commute will likely be affected.”

Kurt Bresswein may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @KurtBresswein. Find on Facebook.

Woman accused of sucker punching trooper in the face

The woman then scuffled with the trooper when he tried to handcuff her, Pennsylvania State Police said.

A trooper investigating a 911 call in Lehigh County was sucker punched by …

Charges upheld for man accused of sex assault on child, 3

The 38-year-old from Slatington is accused of assaulting and sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy.

A detective on Friday detailed injuries to a 3-year-old boy who was allegedly sexu…

Lehigh County man charged with 500 counts of child porn

A tipster alerted police about the man downloading the images, detectives said.

A tipster led police to a Lehigh County man who had hundreds of images of child pornography, inves…

Renter’s guest threatens to burn down landlord’s house, police say

The man was told to leave a Slatington apartment, police said, and three times said he wanted to burn down the landlord’s home.

A man told to leave the apartment where he was illegally staying repeatedly threatened to burn down the landlord’s house, according to Slatington police.

Mark Rondeau, 46, was arraigned Tuesday morning on charges of making terroristic threats and harassment.

Rondeau, whose last address was in Kernersville, North Carolina, was sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Slatington police said Rondeau was staying with Ted Kistler in an apartment at 331 W. Church St., but Rondeau was not on the lease.

Landlord Dean Bucks learned of Rondeau’s stay and told him over the phone on Sunday he was not welcome at the apartment anymore, police said.

Rondeau called Bucks back, and reportedly threatened to board up the windows to Bucks’ home and burn it down in the middle of the night while Bucks and his family were sleeping.

After hanging up with Bucks, Rondeau then turned to Kistler, repeated his threat to burn down Bucks’ home, and then asked Kistler for the landlord’s address, according to police. Kistler refused to provide the address.

Rondeau then called a woman, told her he would burn down Bucks’ home and asked the woman for Bucks’ address, police said.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.


Bethlehem killer’s wife, who tried to hire hitman, accused of assault

Sonia Panell is on federal probation after getting a time-served sentence in August for hiring a hitman to kill witnesses in her husband’s murder trial.

A woman on probation for trying to hire a hitman to kill witnesses in her husband’s murder trial is back behind bars.

Sonia Panell, 39, is accused of assaulting a woman, including pulling out pieces of her hair, early Thursday morning, and then scuffling with police when they arrested her.

Panell is on federal probation after trying to hire a hitman to kill witnesses against her husband Rene Figueroa.

Rene Figueroa killed Yolanda Morales and paralyzed Angel Figueroa during the South Side Bethlehem gunbattle outside the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society three years ago.

Rene Figueroa was convicted of aggravated assault, involuntary manslaughter and related charged following a month-long trial, and was sentenced to 15 and a half to 31 years in prison in the case.

Panell provided an FBI informant with her targets’ names, addresses and tips on where to find them, according to a federal grand jury report. Prosecutors said she used a fake Facebook page to spy on the targets.

Panell, of Lansford, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in February to attempting to hire the hitman, after backing out of a similar deal at the end of 2014. She was given a time-served sentence in August, and placed on three years of probation.

In Thursday’s incident, Panell is now charged with simple assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and three counts of harassment. She was sent to Lehigh County Jail in lieu of $45,000 bail.

Slatington police said they were called about 3:40 a.m. to a home in the first block of North Seventh Street for an assault.

They found a young woman who had swelling and bruising on the right side of her face, two large scratches on her neck, and a large amount of hair ripped from her scalp, police said.

The victim and a witness said Panell assaulted the woman, then fled in a car headed toward Allentown. The victim was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Salisbury Township for treatment, police said.

Meanwhile, Whitehall police located the car Panell fled in, and about two hours after police were called for the assault, Panell was located in Allentown.

Panell punched, kicked, scratched and pulled officers’ hair, as well as tried to pull her hands away when they tried to handcuff her, Allentown police said. She used vulgar language and called the officers racial slurs, police said.

Sarah Cassi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SarahCassi. Find on Facebook.

Woman lights paper, steel wool on stove in attempted arson, police say

Witnesses tell police the woman threatens to burn down an apartment building, records say.

Slatington police say a woman tried to burn down a borough apartment complex by lightin…