COLONIA, NJ – An electrical panel is being blamed for an overnight fire that destroyed a house on North Wood Avenue in the Colonia section of Woodbridge Township.
On Jan, 13, at 2:20 a.m., the Colonia Fire Department was dispatched to 854 North Wood Avenue for a report of an outside electrical service panel on fire.
The Colonia First Aid Squad was first on scene and advised dispatch that they had a working house fire with flames visible from the second floor window and heavy smoke pushing throughout.
Firefighters advanced two hand lines to the second floor where they were faced with heavy smoke and fire conditions. The fire was difficult to access due to small rooms. The fire spread into the void spaces and traveled between the roof rafters, eventually breaking through the roof and from around the dormers. Interior crews pulled ceilings to access the concealed fire and were eventually able to knock it down.
All visible fire was extinguished within an hour, but the incident was not declared under control by Chief Bob Green until 4:09 a.m., when PSE&G secured the power to the house. Firefighters remained on scene for approximately another hour-and-a-half conducting extensive overhaul and wrapping up frozen equipment.
The house sustained severe damage and was deemed uninhabitable by the Woodbridge Township Building Department.
The occupants of the house were able to escape on their own before the fire department arrived.
No injuries were reported.
Mutual aid fire departments from Avenel, Carteret, Iselin #9, Iselin #11 and Hopelawn assisted at the scene, while Fords and Woodbridge Fire Departments stood by in Colonia’s headquarters for coverage during the incident.
Colonia First Aid Squad provided rehabilitation and medical monitoring for the firefighters operating at the scene.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Colonia Fire Prevention Bureau, but appears to have started in the conduit that feeds the electric meter on the outside of the house.