MOUNT ARLINGTON, NJ – A Tuesday evening fire caused substantial damage to the home of two Roxbury High School students, prompting several online fundraisers to help the displaced family.
The fire took place at the home of Nick and Vikki Maresca on Aubrey Road in the Landing section of the borough. The Maresca’s son, Brandon, 17, is a Roxbury High School junior and a goaltender on the lacrosse team. Their oldest daughter, Madison, 15,is a freshman at the school and the Marescas have two other younger daughters as well, Cameron, 13, and Payton, 10, according to family friend Christine O'Dwyer.
Maresca is a Hopatcong Borough police officer.
The family wasn’t home when the fire took place shortly after 6:15 p.m., so nobody was injured, said O'Dwyer and officials. However, they said the house was so badly damaged it was deemed uninhabitable. Firefighters from Roxbury, Netcong and Picatinny Arsenal went to the scene to help the Mount Arlington Fire/Rescue teams who responded first.
“Basically, their house burned to the ground,” said Roxbury High School Lacrosse Coach Christopher Blough. “I mean all their possessions are pretty much gone … Everybody’s OK. That’s the best part.”
Blough and O'Dwyer said the family was out for dinner when the fire took place. They said it appeared to have been caused by “some sort of electrical short” and was discovered by neighbors.
"I spoke to Vicky and she told me they left the house at 6:23 to go to dinner," O'Dwyer said. "She told me that she pulled into the restaurant parking lot and a neighbor was already calling her saying they banged down the door to get their dog, Nitro, out. That was no later than 6:30."
The coach said Brandon came to school today and plans on suiting up for today’s state tournament game against West Windsor-Plainsboro North at 4 p.m. in Succasunna..
“Brandon came into school late today, so I talked to him,” Blough said. “He is dedicated. We have a game today, and he wanted to come.”
"Thank God everyone is okay.," wrote O'Dwyer on a gofundme.com page she created to raise money for the Marescas. "Nicky & Vikki are the first ones there for all of us in time of need. They are our FAMILY our very Dear friends ... they (are) always the first to give their hearts ,lend a hand and help in anyway possible."
A similar gofundme page was set up by Bonnie Coover, who also said the Marescas "help everyone near and far and now." As of 11 p.m., that page had secured about $8,100 in donations and O'Dowd's had reached $3,200.