EDISON, NJ – A large column of smoke could be seen for miles during the early-morning commute on Sept. 20 as firefighters battled a four-alarm building fire on the corner of Woodbridge Avenue and Thomasine Street.
The Edison Fire Department was dispatched to 2076 Woodbridge Ave. at approximately 7:30 a.m. for a reported structure fire.
Heavy smoke was pushing from the second floor of a two-story taxpayer.
Firefighters advanced two-and-a-half hand lines and started to make an attack on the fire, but it quickly advanced through the second floor and into the roof area.
A crew from Edison Truck 1 went to the roof to conduct vertical ventilation and was ordered off the roof shortly after due to heavy fire traveling the cockloft.
Several exterior hand lines and four ladder pipes were set up to flow water from the exterior into the building as conditions started to rapidly deteriorate. The fire spread to the large one-story section of the building in the rear consuming the entire roof.
The roof on the entire building was well involved and started to collapse approximately an hour into the fire. Once the roof collapsed, the walls started to buckle and eventually crumbled to the ground.
Elevated master streams from Edison, Metuchen and South Plainfield along with several exterior hand lines surrounded the building and flowed for several hours until the bulk of the fire was darkened down.
A collapse zone was set up and maintained throughout the incident as master streams hit the weakened building causing pieces to come crashing down.
The fire was declared under control around 10:30 a.m., but firefighters remained on the scene for most of the day flowing water on remaining smoldering debris.
A nearby school and several homes were evacuated as a precaution for several hours until the scene was under control. No other structures were involved in the blaze.
The building was believed to be unoccupied.
Over the years, several businesses occupied the building with apartments on the second floor.
Two firefighters and a police officer suffered minor injuries and were transported to John F. Kennedy hospital in Edison where they were treated and released.
Several mutual aid fire departments were summoned to the scene to assist and to cover the township during the incident. Several EMS units were on scene to provide rehabilitation for emergency personnel.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Edison Township Fire Prevention Bureau, but it appears to have started in the second floor apartments.