A structure fire at East Square Manor, 1 Portland Road in Highlands destroyed 5 condominium units Thursday evening.  At 6:20 p.m. a neighbor called 911 to report a fire at the complex.  Within minutes, Highlands Fire Chief Pete Lynch was on scene and called a second alarm for the fire, which activated mutual aid from Atlantic Highlands, Sea Bright and Middletown.

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Fire destroys 5 units in Highlands.  photo by Michael J. Lomenzo

Highlands Engine 1777 and Highlands Ladder set up tower operations and JCP&L shut off all utilities.  Shortly after the battle was started, fire personnel were pulled back from the building when the water supply from the engine failed.  Water was quickly restored and firefighter resumed dousing the blaze.

At 6:50 p.m., a partial structure and chimney collapse in unit 23 caused personnel to be pulled out of the building.   There was significant fire damage to units 21, 22, and 23 in the complex.  Units 20 and 24 sustained smoke and water damege. The fire was under control by 8:00 p.m.

View video clip of firefighters pumping water from tower truck onto roof. (quicktime movie) video by Michael J. Lomenzo

Firefighters from Atlantic Highlands and Highlands rescued 2 cats and a large bird from one of the units, according to Highlands Fire Captain Charles Welles.

The Red Cross and Animal Control assisted residents and their pets.

Atlantic Highlands, Highlands and Port Monmouth First Aid Squads were on scene.  Also responding were ladder trucks from Atlantic Highlands and Sea Bright and engines from  Atlantic Highlands, Sea Bright, Navesink and Middletown Community Station 4

The Monmouth County Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the blaze.