HILLSBOROUGH, NJ – Several families were left homeless after a fast moving fire destroyed their units in the Brookview Condominium Complex. The building is a large three-story, wood-frame structure that contains a total of 12 units.
On August 12 at approximately 9:45 p.m., all three Hillsborough Fire Companies responded to 3501 Richmond Ct. after receiving several 911 calls reporting a fire. Upon arrival, firefighters were faced with a wall of fire traveling up the side of the building and into the roof area.
Engine 37-102 arrived, established a water supply and set up for an initial defensive attack in an attempt to knock down the heavy fire on the exterior. Once the majority of the flames were darkened down, several hand lines were stretched to the interior to extinguish the fire that had entered the units. The fire quickly spread through the eaves into the attic space and started to consume the roof.
At one point heavy fire and thick black smoke could be seen showing through the roof. Interior crews were able to advance hand lines to the third floor and gain access to the attic to extinguish the fire. After the bulk of the fire was knocked down in the attic, pockets of fire were still visible for quite some time in the roof rafters.
Ladder trucks from Hillsborough Fire Company #2, Woods Road, and Flagtown set up to allow firefighters access to the roof to be overhauled and extinguish remaining pockets of fire. Flames could be seen flaring up in several locations as firefighters removed shingles and sheathing from the roof.
The fire was declared under control in approximately 90 minutes. Firefighters remained on scene for several more hours conducting extensive overhaul and wrapping up equipment.
A total of eight units were destroyed in the building and were deemed uninhabitable by the Hillsborough Building Department.
All the residents in the building were able to escape the blaze. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported at the scene, but three pet cats perished in the fire.
The American Red Cross was summoned to the scene to assist displaced residents with seeking shelter.
Mutual aid fire departments from Montgomery, Manville, Finderne, Millstone Valley, and Elizabeth Avenue assisted at the scene, while other Somerset County fire departments covered the township during the incident.
Hillsborough, Montgomery, and Somerville Rescue Squads were on scene to provide rehabilitation and medical evaluation for emergency personnel.
The cause of the blaze is being investigated by the Hillsborough Fire Safety Office, but does not appear to be suspicious in nature. Although the cause of the fire is undetermined, it appears that it started on an outside balcony.