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3 Firefighters Hurt in Youell's Oyster House Blaze

Nothing but the frame left as an early-morning fire tears through Youell's Oyster House; reports of an injured firefighter received from the field.

UPDATE 11:37am: Nearby homes are being evacuated while what's left of Youell's is being demolished. WFMZ reports that homes nearby were not damaged by the fire. 

UPDATE 8:43am: A breaking news alert confirms that two firefighters were injured when a wall fell. A third reported with burns on his forehead. 

ORIGINAL STORY: An early-morning fire has destroyed Youell's Oyster House in West Allentown, leaving three firefighters injured. 

Breaking news alerts about the three-alarm fire started streaming in around 4:30 this morning. According to the alerts, backup fire crews were called to the scene as crews battled the blaze. 

According to WFMZ, three firefighters were injured when the structure started to collapse. Alerts were first sent out about an injured firefighter around 6:45am. News on the emergency responder firefighter is on Facebook page the 12 County Fire Wire/News

The 107-year-old restaurant's website notes the restaurant has been "famous for seafood since 1905." Youell's moved from Easton in 1992 to the West Allentown location at 23rd and Walnut streets. The website also says the Allentown building was a stagecoach stop and general store that dates back to the early 1800s. 

Reviewers on websites Yelp and Tripadvisor call Youell's a "Lehigh Valley institution."

Carl W January 22, 2013 at 02:42 PM
I grew up with it as "Hemmerly's ." Nice little addition to our quiet, west end neighborhood. Sad for us to see it gone.
StacyAnn January 22, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Such a shame. They had great food!
charles hampton January 22, 2013 at 02:47 PM
I don't recall the food so much as the blue hair and lime green golf slacks on the patrons.
Joe and Lynn-Anne Kocon January 22, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I have been going there since it was the Sirloin Pub. And in the past five years I have to say kudoos to chef Tim who has done a tremendous job revitalizing the menu with fabulous new additions for those who don't always necessarily want the traditional choices that youelles is famous for, yet keeping the old favorites alive and as yummy as ever! My husband and I will miss our favorite quiet little spot and will wait with hopeful anticipation to their rebuilding.
Mary Anne Looby January 22, 2013 at 04:48 PM
How awful! It was always a favorite spot for my parents and other family members. I have only been there a few times since it's a bit far. We used to go there when we lived in the west end and it was the Sirloin Pub. What a shame. Hope they can rebuild or find a new site.
Michael H January 22, 2013 at 05:57 PM
I never ate there while it was Youell's, I did work there when it was Florentine Inn and enjoyed their food very much. My parents own the house situated two feet next door and that's how i was alerted of the disaster, when my mom smelled the smoke this morning. Its unfortunate for the business to be demolished, hopefully they can rebuild.
An interested bystander January 22, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Michael, hope your parents and their house are ok. I'll miss it too, great menu with very good prices for top notch food. Hope they rebuild and the City doesn't get in their way with zoning requirements.
snowwhite January 22, 2013 at 09:33 PM
so sorry to hear, wishing the owener, all the best, great menu, great service, rebulild soon, will miss you, but wIll be back.
KilgoreTrout January 23, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Will miss the good food. This restaurant had the worst service I have vere experienced in my life. Absolutely inexcusable and incompetent. I went back for the food ;-)
Blaine Holden January 23, 2013 at 03:24 AM
In addition to losing his business Chris also lost his bees. I'm not sure if many people knew Chris was a beekeeper and kept his hives on his roof.

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