MIDDLETOWN, NJ – At 7:48 a.m. Sunday March 13, 2022 the Middletown Township Fire Department (MTFD) was dispatched to a possible building fire reported by a passerby reporting they saw smoke emanating from 49 Highway 36 South, North Middletown.  At 7:53a .m. MTFD First Assistant Fire Chief William Kane Jr. was the first arriving unit confirming smoke issuing from the garage doors of the structure.  The first arriving apparatus deployed the initial 1 3/4” hose line and began forcible entry to gain access to the building.  A 5” Large Diameter Hose (LDH) supply line from the nearest fire hydrant 600’away was deployed, unfortunately, the fire hydrant failed while being opened resulting in an addition 800’ of LDH to be dropped to the next closest hydrant, water supply was then established to the fire scene. Simultaneous to the garage doors being forced open two additional lines were assigned to extinguish the fire in the rear left hand side of the structure.

Fire at 49 Highway 36 South, Middletown, NJ
Firefighters cut into garage door at 49 Highway 36 South, Middletown

During search and rescue operations thermal imaging cameras were employed to ensure no victims were inside the structure and all fire was found and extinguished. The building utilities were secured by New Jersey Natural Gas, Jersey Central Power and Light and New Jersey American Water.

The fire was placed under control by MTFD Chief Bernie Chenoweth at 8:16 a.m. All units were cleared from the scene at 1:22 p.m.

Approximately 56 firefighters from 4 companies of the Middletown Township Fire Department responded to the call from Community, East Keansburg, Port Monmouth and Belford Independent fire companies. Additionally the MTFD Special Service Unit and Monmouth County Hazmat team responded to address hazmat issues encountered, the MTFD Air Unit and the Safety Unit also responded.

Fire at 49 Highway 36 South, Middletown, NJ
Fire at 49 Highway 36 South, Middletown, NJ

Middletown, Leonardo and Keansburg First Aid Squads provided medical services to all firefighters. Two firefighters were treated on scene for shoulder injuries.


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All units operated safely under the supervision of Middletown Township Fire Department Fire Chief Bernie Chenoweth.

The fire is being investigated by the Middletown Township Police Department, Middletown Township Fire Marshal’s office under the direction of Fire Marshal Edward Skelly and Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s office.


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