By KEITH ADDIE Senior Correspondent 1st Responder Network
KENILWORTH, NJ – Fireworks may have played a part in a three-alarm fire on January 1, 2014 that heavily damaged a single-family home and gave the appearance of Independence Day to responding firefighters.
The Kenilworth Fire Department was dispatched just before 1:00 a.m. to the corner of Kenilworth Blvd. and Epping Dr. for the reported house fire. Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy fire in an attached garage of a large two-story dwelling with extension to the living area and a vehicle parked in the driveway. Not only were firefighters faced with heavy fire conditions, but also an arsenal of fireworks present in the garage detonating and shooting out of the garage doors into the street, causing an additional safety concern.
A water supply was established and hand lines were advanced to the garage and interior of the dwelling as the fire was spreading to the first floor and auto exposing to the second floor directly above the garage. A second water supply was needed due to a defective hydrant, but suppression efforts were able to continue. The bulk of the fire was knocked down in the garage quickly, but active fire was present on the first and second floors where additional hand lines were stretched. Firefighters made a nice stop and were able to darken the flames that had extended from the garage before it consumed the entire living area. Ceilings and walls in the immediate area were opened up to ensure all hot spots in void spaces were extinguished.
All visible fire was extinguished in just over an hour and was declared under control around 2:25 a.m., but firefighters remained on scene for an extended period of time conducting overhaul and wrapping up frozen equipment. The home was occupied at the time of the fire, but everyone was able to escape unharmed. One firefighter sustained a minor injury at the scene and was treated and released. The garage and immediate areas on the first and second floors suffered heavy fire damage, while the rest of the home sustained smoke and water damage and was deemed uninhabitable.
Mutual aid fire departments from Union, Roselle Park, Clark, and Scotch Plains were summoned to the scene to assist, while additional Union County fire departments covered the town during the incident. The exact cause of the intense blaze is being investigated by fire officials, but it appears to have started in the attached garage.