BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — A barking dog sounded his own alarm shortly after midnight Thursday morning, alerting five sleeping people of trouble, as a fire swept through the first floor of their Putnam Avenue home.
All five escaped and were able to call 911 for help.
Deputy Chief Jim Hopkins gave the following account of the incident.
At 12:18 a.m., the Police Dispatcher received a call reporting a kitchen fire at the home, and sent out the alarm.
When the chief arrived on the scene he found heavy smoke and fire on first floor of the house, from the front to back, and discovered the back porch was fully involved. Crews quickly extinguished the fire.
The five occupants of the house self-evacuated prior to the fire department’s arrival at the house. No one was injured.
The origin of the fire was the back porch, and it spread through to the living room. When the first engine arrived, “the first hose line went into the front door and stopped it.The second hose went into the back and we put it out,” Hopkins said.
The fire was declared under control at 1:05 a.m.
The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical, Hopkins said.
Only one smoke alarm was found, in the basement of the house, and it was not working.
Berkeley Heights Fire Department responded to the fire with three engines, a ladder truck and rescue truck. The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad also responded to the scene and took care of the residents and firefighter rehab.
New Providence, Summit, Chatham Township and Stirling Fire departments also responded to the scene, while Fanwood, Mountainside and Plainfield Fire departments sent firefighters and equipment to provide backup at the fire house.