Center Street Fire - Updated Information

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Additional details about today's terrible fire have been obtained upon speaking with Metuchen FD Deputy Chief Rob Donnan. 


The FD received the alarm just before 8:00 am.  When they arrived on the scene, the entire back of the house was on fire; flames were coming out of the first floor windows and extending up into the second floor attic.  


The responders were initially told that one person was still in the house, on the second floor, and so firefighters advanced attack lines into the first and second floor to extinguish the fire and search for victims.  A thorough search confirmed that no one was still in the home.


There was heavy structural damage; the floors were greatly compromised, leaving firefighters unable to operate in certain parts of the building.  Portions of the roof had to be cut open and large sections of wall had to be removed in order to reach the fire in the attic.  Much of the work had to be performed from outside ladders where heavy precipitation, low temperatures, and ice and snow made everything extremely difficult.

Approximately thirty (30) Metuchen firefighters battled the blaze and they were assisted by members of the South Plainfield, North Stelton (Piscataway), and Edison fire departments.


The Metuchen Police Department was also at the scene.  They conducted necessary road closures and assisted in evacuating residents. Metuchen EMS assisted with firefighter rehabilitation.


Approximately eight (8) residents, including a baby, were displaced and sadly lost almost all of their personal possessions.  They are safe tonight at a friend's family home in town.  The arrangements are temporary.


Help is needed.  Anyone wishing to make a donation is asked to bring it to the Metuchen Senior Center (15 Center Street) between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. Metuchen Police Headquarters will collect donations after hours.  Sizes are not known at this time so it is suggested that people wishing to donate consider gift cards to national chain stores such as Wal-Mart or Target.


According to Deputy Chief Donnan, the exact cause of the fire has not been determined but it was deemed accidental and not suspicious.  He added "I would like to compliment all the firefighters operating at the scene this morning.  Heavy fire conditions, inclement weather and several other factors made this an extremely challenging incident.  Additional thanks go out to the Metuchen Police Department, Metuchen EMS and all other agencies assisting us today."


Deputy Chief Donnan asks everyone to "Please make Fire Safety a part of your daily routine and have a Safe & Healthy Holiday."  Here are his tips for fire safety during the holidays:


Holiday Fire Safety Tips

  1. Be sure you have working Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors installed in your home.
  2. Be extremely cautious with candles!
  3. Have your furnace, fireplace and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually.
  4. Try to limit the use of portable space heaters, keep all combustible materials away from them and never leave them on if you are not home.
  5. Avoid using extension cords or overloading electrical outlets.
  6. Keep Christmas Trees watered and away from any open flames.
  7. Use caution while cooking and keep all pot handles turned in so small children can't reach up and pull them over.
  8. Establish and practice a Home Emergency Escape Plan.
  9. If you have a fire, get everyone out and call 9-1-1.  Once you are out NEVER go back in.

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