COLONIA, N.J. – A raging fire destroyed a two-story colonial style home in the Colonia section of Woodbridge Township after the homeowner attempted to extinguish the flames himself with a garden hose. The residents smelled smoke inside their home and went outside to find the back of their house ablaze.
On March 20 at 4:15 p.m., the Colonia Fire Department responded to 88 Morningside Rd. for a house fire that was reported by the Colonia First Aid Squad. The first aid squad responded to the address for a medical call, but it turned out to be anything but.
They found heavy fire showing on the B/C corner behind the garage. The fire was traveling quickly up the outside of the house and advancing into the roof area above the garage.
Firefighters stretched and advanced a hand line through the garage and into the living area in an attempt to stop the spread of fire into the main section of the house. The interior crew made it to the second floor, but was forced out after hearing an explosion come from the garage area.
Once the interior crew backed out of the house, the fire advanced into the attic above the main living area. The fire quickly consumed the attic resulting in strictly exterior operations. The fire eventually dropped down and the second floor became heavily involved.
Two blitz hand lines were set up on the B-side of the house and the D-side of the house to provide exposure protection for the neighboring house. In addition, Colonia and Woodbridge set up their ladder trucks and directed elevated master streams through second floor windows and the roof area.
Master streams continued to be directed into the second floor and attic until the heavy fire was darkened down. The roof rafters were heavily damaged resulting in a partial collapse of the roof. A gaping hole could be seen in the roof as Colonia continued to flow water from an elevated master stream into the attic.
The fire was declared under control at approximately 6 p.m. Firefighters remained on scene for two more hours conducting overhaul and assisting fire investigation personnel.
The home sustained heavy fire, smoke, and water damage throughout and was deemed uninhabitable by the Woodbridge Township Building Department.
There were no injuries at the scene.
Mutual aid fire departments from Avenel, Iselin #11, Iselin #9, Fords, Woodbridge, and Clark assisted at the scene, while Carteret and Iselin #9 provided coverage for the town during the incident.
Woodbridge Township Mutual Aid Coordinators were summoned to the scene to assist with cover assignments.
Colonia First Aid Squad provided rehabilitation and medical evaluation for the firefighters operating at the scene.
The cause of the fire is undetermined and is being investigated by the Colonia Fire Prevention Bureau. It appears the fire started in the back of the house behind the attached two-car garage.