MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Fire departments from multiple towns were called to a house fire as Christmas Eve became Christmas morning in Maplewood. The house seems to be a loss, and no fire fighters were injured.
No one was at the single family home in the Hilton neighborhood when “somebody driving by on the street saw it and called 911” at approximately 12:30 a.m., said Deputy Chief Chris Ariemma, who was among the members of Tour 4 who responded to the call. Once there, it was determined quickly that mutual aid was needed, and fire fighters from Irvington, Millburn, and South Orange responded. The South Orange Rescue Squad also responded as a precaution in case EMS was needed, Ariemma said. Luckily, they were not.
Close quarters meant a complicated fire, Ariemma said. “The guys did a really great job. The houses in that part of town are only separated by a driveway,” the deputy chief noted, and the aggressive approach MFD took meant the fire didn’t spread to other properties.
The home was being renovated and the owner was not present. It is unknown how long the fire was burning before 911 was called. “There were no smoke detectors, which is not uncommon for a house under renovations,” Ariemma said. As for what started the flames, he said, “It certainly seems accidental in nature. We will do more follow up” to determine the cause.
Neighbor Al-Nisa Salaam said the family had recently moved furniture in. “They had just put new windows in and the fireman had to break them,” she added. “It’s just so sad, being Christmas.”