Crews Attack Building Fire in Monroe Township, N.J.

A lightning strike may have sparked the blaze.


Shortly after 10. p.m. on Saturday, May 12, firefighters from Williamstown N.J. ( Gloucester County ) were dispatched to Ye Olde Manor House, located at 26 Library St. for an apartment building fire. This occurred during a heavy rain storm which included many lightning strikes.

The first arriving firefighters reported that they had a large 2-1/2 story apartment building with heavy smoke showing. The second-alarm was struck, bringing companies from Cecil Fire Department, Franklin and Washington Townships.

The apartment complex held over 20 residents who were safely led from the building. Firefighters were able to rescue a cat who was treated and revived by Monroe Twp. EMS.

An aggressive interior attack was being made but fire fighters were unable to find the main body of fire. The apartment complex was a former St. Mary's Catholic School which was later converted to a 16-unit complex.

The fire finally broke through the roof as firefighters made an attempt to save the building. It took over two hours before the fire was placed under control.

Neighbors heard a loud crashing sound from a lightning strike which apparently struck the center structure post of the building. This may have started the fire.

The fire is being investigated by the Gloucester County Fire Marshal's Office. Deptford Township's canteen unit crew provided refreshments to more than 80 personnel.