NUTLEY, NJ - The fast action and team effort of Nutley residents and first responders prevented a small fire at a home from becoming a potential loss. 

At about 3:30 p.m.on Tuesday, Sonny Petracco was working the counter of Petracco and Sons deli on Bloomfield Avenue in Nutley. His father, Nutley Commissioner Alphonse Petracco owns the deli. The younger Petracco smelled smoke and walked outside to investigate. 

Two doors away from the deli, at 501 Bloomfield Avenue, Petracco saw fire on the second floor porch of the wood frame home. He immediately sprang into action, banging on doors and making noise to rouse the residents of the building and make sure every got out quickly. 

Sign Up for E-News

At the same time, Joe Villano, one of Nutley's Special Officers, was in the area and acted quickly. Villano took his police cruiser's fire extinguisher and proceed to the area of the fire. The fire was almost out when the Nutley Fire Department and Nutley Emergency and Rescue Squad arrived on the scene. The firefighters were able to fully extinguish the fire.

Commissioner Petracco told TAPinto Nutley that "those are the kind of fires that can get out of control fast." Tuesday was hot, dry, and breezy. He added that it was "the team effort" that go the fire under control.

"A lot of credit ges to Joe Villano." said Commissioner Petracco.. Villano served the community for about 25 years before retiring. Carmen Orechio hiired Villano as a special police officer when he was serving on the Nutley Board of Commissioners. Villano has been a special police officer for 10 years. Special officers work a few days, primarily patrolling the streets.  

The younger Petracco is 21 and can often be found behind the counter of deli serving customers.He recently graduated college. 

The Montclair Fire Department provided mutual aid coverage of Nutley during the time of the fire. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

Editor's Note: Commissioner Petracco shared photos of his son, as any proud parent would. If you see Sonny Petracco out and about in Nutley be sure to thank him for seeing something and saying something. is the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley. is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @TAPintoNutley  Download the TAPinto App to get breaking news alerts delivered to your phone!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

Got a news tip or opinion? email us at