MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Shortly after 11 a.m., on Friday, April 13, Claudine Baptiste, manager of the new BCB Community Bank branch in Maplewood stated that she became aware of smoke rising from the area behind Village Coffee, located at 164-166 Maplewood Avenue. Upon further inspection, Baptiste found that a dumpster was on fire.
According to the Maplewood Fire Department, attempts by business employees to extinguish the fire prior to the arrival of firefighters were unsuccessful.
Initially, one fire engine was dispatched to the scene at about 11:20 a.m., but upon arrival, two additional engines were dispatched due to the fire's proximity to a fence and the back of the building, according to a statement from the Maplewood Fire Department.
"The fire was contained to the contents of the dumpster and was quickly extinguished using a 1-3/4” handline," stated the Maplewood Fire Department, which also noted that the fire was completely extinguished shortly before noon.
The statement from the fire department also noted that hallway smoke detectors were activated in 166 Maplewood Ave., due to a "minor smoke condition from a rear door to the building being left open," and also that there was "a slight smoke condition in a basement food prep area. Both areas were ventilated by natural means." The Health Department was notified to respond due to smoke in the prep area, according to the statement from the Maplewood Fire Department.
The investigation of the fire found multiple cigarette butts in and around the dumpster, according to the Maplewood Fire Department, and the cause of the fire is undetermined. "The improper disposal of smoking materials cannot be ruled out," stated the fire department.
The original article published on April 15 was updated on April 16 with information from the Maplewood Fire Department.