LIVINGSTON, NJ — In addition to a fire on Sunday night that Livingston Fire Chief Chris Mullin said could have had a “dramatically different outcome” if it had not been discovered as quickly as it was, Livingston’s first responders were also busy with various incidents over the last two weeks that included several arrests, downed limbs and wires, a pedestrian incident and more.
Units Respond to House Fire at 91 Sykes Avenue
After receiving a report of a possible chimney fire on Sykes Avenue at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, members of Livingston’s volunteer fire department discovered a "working fire" in the rear of the house at the roof line involving the chimney pipe chase, according to Mullin. Interior crews also discovered fire in the attic space above the second-floor master bedroom.
Mullin explained that interior lines were stretched to the second floor to extinguish the visible fire in the attic as well as the fire in the pipe chase running from the first floor through the second floor and up through the roof. A second hand-line was stretched to the rear exterior of the house, where Mullin said the “well-developed fire was burning into the structure and extinguished by firefighters via ground ladders.”
"Our firefighters were able to bring this fire under control within about 15 minutes of arrival, which limited fire damage to the second floor ceiling and roof area,” he said. “Fire crews worked efficiently and quickly to extinguish this well-advanced fire. If this fire was not discovered when it was, the outcome would have been dramatically different. I commend all my firefighters who worked this job for a quick, aggressive and professional fire attack in extinguishing this fire before it reached a catastrophic level."
Suspects Flee Following Pursuit and Crash of Stolen Vehicle
Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, a Livingston Police officer attempted to stop a 2014 Nissan Pathfinder that he observed traveling eastbound on South Orange Avenue at a high speed. According to police, the vehicle had been reported stolen in Irvington on Aug. 7, 2019.
The operator of the vehicle refused to stop for the officer and continued east until the vehicle was involved in an accident in Millburn that disabled the vehicle. According to Livingston police, two male occupants fled from the vehicle into the woods of South Mountain Reservation and were not located.
The vehicle is being processed for evidence and the investigation is continuing.
Suspicious Woman at Livingston Public Library Leads to Arrest
Staff members at the Livingston Public Library called police at approximately 5:05 p.m. on Oct. 19 to report a suspicious woman who was found lying on the floor of a public bathroom by the children's section, according to Livingston police. Staff members who attempted to assist the woman said she refused help and commented that she did not want to hurt anyone before exiting the building through a fire door and setting off alarms.
When Officer Shea Datz located the woman walking toward South Livingston Avenue and gave her numerous commands to stop, the woman continued walking north until the officer caught up to her. She then turned and lunged at the officer, striking him in the face.
The woman—identified as Irina Celentano, 25, of Roseland—was taken to the ground and placed under arrest. According to police, Celentano appeared to be intoxicated at the time, and her car was found in the library parking lot.
Celentano was charged with assault on a police officer and disorderly conduct. She was released on a summons, and the charges were referred to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Man Charged in Livingston Raceway Burglary Case
When Livingston police responded to a burglary at the Raceway gas station on South Orange Avenue in September, the subsequent investigation revealed that the suspect was operating a Ram pick-up that had been stolen from a Mountainside body shop during a burglary.
According to Livingston police, the truck was recovered, unoccupied, in Newark with evidence of the Livingston burglary still inside. The same suspect was linked to numerous other burglaries in Summit, Union, Mountainside, Watchung and Springfield.
Physical evidence and surveillance video led to the identification of Christopher Ransom, 48, of Vauxhall, who remained at large until Oct. 9. According to police, he was arrested in Newark after he returned to a vehicle that had been stolen while committing two more burglaries in Union County.
Livingston police have since charged Ransom with burglary, theft, criminal mischief and receiving stolen property. Ransom is being held in the Union County Jail, and all charges have been forwarded to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Pedestrian Struck at Intersection of North Livingston and Mt. Pleasant Avenues
At approximately 10:16 p.m. on Oct. 16, a 44-year-old West Orange woman was traveling eastbound on W. Mt. Pleasant Avenue and making a left turn onto N. Livingston Avenue while a 42-year-old Livingston woman was walking in the crosswalk, traveling east on N. Livingston Avenue.
According to police, the driver did not see the pedestrian and struck her with the vehicle. The investigation revealed that when turning traffic has a green arrow, pedestrians have a “do not walk” sign. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital with lower body injuries.
Motor Vehicle Stop Leads to Arrest of Newark Man on Multiple Charges
Livingston Officer Dave Naylor stopped a 2000 Chrysler on South Orange Avenue on the afternoon of Oct. 12 for having tinted front windows. During the stop, the officer asked for identifying information to complete a summons for the front-seat passenger, who was not wearing a seatbelt.
According to police, the passenger initially claimed not to have identification and provided a name that could not be found in DMV records for a license. While speaking with the passenger, officers noticed that he had something concealed in a pocket, causing a visible bulge.
When the man was questioned about the object, he stated it was drugs, specifically ecstasy, and began to reach for the pocket. According to police, the man physically resisted when the officer attempted to restrain him. He then retrieved a glass jar containing about 40 pills and slammed it into the roadway.
The man—identified as Kenneth Kelly, 31, of Newark—was eventually restrained and placed under arrest. He was charged with possession of drugs, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest, according to Livingston police. Kelly was sent to the Essex County Jail, and the charges were referred to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Three women Arrested for Possession of Stolen Property
Following a motor vehicle stop for an illegal turn out of the Livingston Mall on Oct. 13, police arrested Elizabeth residents Stephanie Silva-Delacruz, 30, Yessenia Iniro-Reynoso, 32, and Jennifer Cruz, 36, for possession of stolen property.
According to Livingston police, the women were found to have bags of clothing stolen from Livingston Mall stores Pink, American Eagle, and Express along with items from the Short Hills Mall store Forever 21. The women also had aluminum foil to defeat inventory control tags and a magnet to remove inventory control tags, according to police.
Police ultimately recovered 38 clothing items valued at $2,580. All three women were charged with five counts of receiving stolen property and one count of possessing an anti-shoplifting device countermeasure. They were released on summonses pending court action.
One of Six Shoplifting Suspects Arrested at Livingston Mall
At approximately 4:40 p.m. on Oct. 21, Macy’s Loss Prevention contacted Livingston police for assistance because they had six male shoplifting suspects in the store. While police were responding, all but one of the suspects left the store, according to police.
The remaining suspect—identified as Yazhir Williams-Muse, 18, of Irvington—had concealed numerous clothing items on his body, under his own clothes. When Williams-Muse attempted to exit the store, two Livingston detectives detained him. According to police, Williams-Muse physically resisted as the officers attempted to take him into custody, but he was eventually handcuffed and arrested.
According to police, Williams-Muse had clothing worth $1,491 concealed on his body. He was also found to have a warrant from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and a warrant from Irvington.
The suspect was charged with shoplifting, resisting arrest and hindering apprehension for giving a false name. He was sent to the Essex County Jail. Livingston police are currently working with store security to identify the other suspects who left the store.
Wind Storm Leads to Downed Limbs and Wires
During the recent heavy winds, crews have responded to downed wires and tree limbs on the following roads: Intervale Road, Walnut Street, Hazel Avenue, W. Northfield Road, Beaufort Avenue, South Orange Avenue and N. Livingston Avenue.