At 3:00 AM on Sunday February 16th, 2014, the residents at 135 Deepdale Drive called 911 to report that after being awoken by their smoke detectors a fire was discovered in their attached 2 car garage. The residents quickly evacuated the house and sought shelter with neighbors.
Second Assistant Fire Chief Tony Citarella was the first to arrive and confirmed a working fire in the garage attached to a two and a half story residential structure.
Approximately 55 firefighters from 5 companies of the Middletown Township Fire Department (Middletown, River Plaza, Old Village Fire, Belford Engine, and Port Monmouth Fire Companies), under the command of Department Chief Peter Laimann, responded to the scene.
Despite the severe ice and snow conditions, the firefighters quickly deployed a 2.5 inch hand line to suppress the blaze in the garage which was fueled, in part, by two burning vehicles. An additional hose line was used to knock down a small amount of fire which had extended into the attic of the adjacent residential portion of the house.
Chief Laimann declared the fire under control within 45 minutes. The last units left the scene by 6:30 AM.
The fire burnt through the roof of the garage section which subsequently collapsed. The residential portion of the structure sustained smoke and water damage and is uninhabitable.
Several firefighters were treated at the scene for minor fall related injuries.
The Middletown Township Department of Public Works salted and sanded the area roads during the incident which greatly aided the responder’s efforts. Also assisting at the scene were the MTFD Air Support Unit and the Lincroft & Fairview First Aid Squads.
The fire is being investigated by the Middletown Township Fire Prevention office.
On Saturday morning, several of the same fire companies fought a difficult basement fire in the River Plaza section of the Township. Both of these incidents underscore the valuable assistance that residents can provide by clearing snow and ice from the fire hydrants in their neighborhood. By not having to search for, and dig out, the nearby hydrants firefighters can save precious time in situations where every second counts.