16 Departments Called to N.J. Car Dealership Fire

A massive fire that burned for hours destroyed the Buhler Chrysler-Jeep car dealership on Route 35 in Hazlet, NJ on May 26. 

Hazlet Township firefighters responded to  around 5:15 a.m. for a reported structure fire. Upon arrival, heavy fire conditions were found in the rear of the building where the repair garage is located.

Firefighters setup exterior hand lines and ground monitors from the start and battled the blaze from the exterior due to volume of fire present inside the structure. Heavy fire started to consume the roof quickly and caused a full collapse within a half-hour. Once the roof collapsed, flames and thick black smoke could be seen throughout the building.

Several elevated master streams from Hazlet, North Centerville, Keansburg, Keyport, and Atlantic Highlands were set up around the structure and flowed thousands of gallons of water onto the building until the bulk of the flames were darkened.

The exterior walls of the structure were severely weakened and partially collapsed onto a nearby parked vehicle on the D-side of the building. A collapse zone was set up around the perimeter, keeping firefighters a safe distance away in the event of further collapse.

The majority of the flames were extinguished in approximately two hours with pockets of fire remaining under rubble, but water continued to flow for an extended period of time to hit remaining hot spots.

The structure suffered extensive damage and was deemed a total loss. The dealership was later demolished, leaving nothing but a pile of charred debris and burned out shells of vehicles that were inside the repair area.

One firefighter was transported from the scene to Bayshore Community Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.

Mutual aid fire departments from Matawan Borough, Midway, Keansburg, Middletown, Union Beach, Aberdeen, Keansburg, West Keansburg, Atlantic Highlands, Earle NWS, Belford, Keyport, Port Monmouth, Leonardo, and Navesink responded to the scene to assist.

The fire appears to have started in the rear mechanic?s garage, but no official cause has been determined. The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.