North Whitehall Fire Marshal Don Jacobs said a Monday morning fire in an abandoned barn at 4767 Cobbler Road is considered "suspicious." The adjoining slaughterhouse, which was the setting for two indie horror movies, was not damaged.
"There's no natural cause that would set my mind at ease," Jacobs said. "There was nothing stored in there that could self-ignite, no farming equipment or anything - just some old hay."
Jacobs said the barn hasn't had power or been used in any way since 1980.
"We did bring in the Allentown arson dog and the Pa. State Police fire marshal from Dublin," Jacobs said. "We're taking this very seriously because one thing can lead to another and we don’t want anything to get worse."
He confirmed they have some active leads they are investigating. Fire Chief Jim Steward of Neffs Volunteer Fire Company said the fire broke out at 1:20 a.m. and took about 2.5 hours to contain. Five area fire companies responded.
"It has been used to film scary movies and as a result has become a place of potentially common congregation," Jacobs said.
According to a 2011 article in The Morning Call, the $2 million film -- "Bereavement" -- was shot entirely in and around the Lehigh Valley. In addition to the Ironton slaughterhouse, Long Island filmmaker Stevan Mena and company filmed on various bridges and back roads around Bethlehem and Hellertown as well as at Shankweiller's Drive-In, Parkland High School, Schnecksville Elementary School, the Charcoal Drive-In in Wescosville and a farmhouse in New Tripoli.
Jacobs said the area near the barn was also the site of a car fire about five years ago. Someone who stole a car from New Jersey took it for a joyride and ultimately ended up in the area in front of the barn where he or she set the car on fire.
"We ran the VIN and alerted the owner who still thought it was in their driveway," Jacobs said.