Inside the Bethlehem Park evacuation center

Lackawanna H.S. Shelter For Evacuees

LACKAWANNA, N.Y. - A state of emergency was called for the area of Bethlehem Park Thursday because of smoke from the Bethlehem Steel site fire. 

People in the area received calls on their phones and knocks on their doors Thursday morning.

They were told to leave and should plan to stay with a loved one or come to Lackawanna High School,where Red Cross set up an evacuation center. 

Thursday evening, Red Cross said that twelve people had come to the evacuation center.

Inside the school, they set up cots and blankets.

There was some confusion earlier in the day with two evacuation centers open, but they have consolidated to one at the high school on Martin Road. 

Rose Blattenberger lives in Bethlehem Park with her husband and dog and said she only grabbed medications a night gown before she had to go. 

"It was kind of scary that you had to be evacuated," Blattenberger said. "I've never been evacuated before. But it's for our own good. For our own health. Because the smoke was so bad and for people that have trouble breathing, I'm one of those people, I have trouble breathing too."

Red Cross told 2 On Your Side that people who are not within the Bethlehem Park area, but feel affected by the smoke, are welcome at the evacuation center. 

Pets are also welcome in a maintenance building near the high school, according to an Erie County Health Department spokesperson. 

Wegman's donated water and snacks. Salvation Army provided dinner.

The Red Cross says they are prepared to keep the shelter open at least through the night.


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