LAKE COMO, NJ — It has been a month since flames ripped through the second floor of Tom and Teresa Meehan’s Ripley Lane home on a bitterly cold and blustery afternoon.

After spending the weeks since the January 5 blaze getting their lives back to some state of normalcy, the couple now wants to thank the dozens of first-responders, neighbors and friends who gave selflessly of themselves during and after that devastating day.

They will host a “Thanking Our Heroes” gathering on Saturday, February 10 at Bar Anticipation in Lake Como. To be held from 3 to 7 p.m., the special event will feature live entertainment and refreshments, and give the Meehans the opportunity to extend their appreciation to their invited guests.

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“On January 5, our home on Ripley Lane in Lake Como caught fire. It was a brutally cold day, and it took over four hours of intense labor, dedication and teamwork to extinguish the blaze," Teresa said. “We want to honor our heroes — all the firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, neighbors and the whole community, who helped us in our moment of greatest need.”

On that day, Teresa called 9-1-1 on 4:02 p.m. after smelling smoke from the second floor of their 110-year-old sprawling home that is the former Hollycroft Inn — a longtime landmark that sits on a hill overlooking Lake Como.

While she, her husband and adult daughter, as well as three dogs, were able to flee the home uninjured, the home sustained significant damage and now sits vacant and boarded up, awaiting to be restored to its former beauty and charm.

Firefighters from Belmar’s three fire companies — Union Fire Co., Goodwill Hose Fire Co.  and Volunteer Hook & Ladder Fire Co. — were on the scene, along with fire companies from Spring Lake, Wall, Neptune and Neptune City. Belmar First Aid Squad also responded.

After an investigation by county and local fire officials, the fire was not ruled suspicious, but an exact cause could not be determined.

As for the Meehans, they and their “VIP-ooches” — Riley and PJ — have settled into a temporary residence in Sea Girt until they can return home, and once again enjoy their views of picturesque Lake Como.

TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, it is the official electronic newspaper of both municipalities. As a locally owned news organization, TAPinto through its advertisers is able to publish online, objective news 24/7 at no charge. Sign up for its free daily e-News, and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

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