PEAPACK, NJ - A barn at the Essex Hunt Club burned in an early-morning two-alarm fire, but no injuries were reported.
Hounds who reside near the damaged barn were rescued by members of the Peapack-Gladstone, Bedminster and Far Hills Police. The Peapack-Gladstone Fire Department extinguished the fire with aid from five local fire departments.
At approximately 4:51 a.m., the Peapack-Gladstone Police, Fire and First Aid received a report of a barn fire at the Essex Hunt Club on Holland Road in Peapack. An employee of the Essex Hunt Club, who was arriving for work, reported the fire to authorities.
Officer Paul Morris arrived on the scene within two minutes of receiving the call. Morris observed a fire in a semi-detached building that is part of a larger barn complex, which is home to more than 40 hounds belonging to the Essex Fox Hounds. Morris, along with Bedminster Officer Paul Piano and Far Hills Officer Kevin Luckenbach, evacuated all of the hounds. None of the hounds were hurt.
The Peapack-Gladstone Fire Department contained the fire to one structure. The attached barns were undamaged. Peapack-Gladstone received assistance from Far Hills-Bedminster, Pottersville, Bernardsville, Chester and Liberty Corner.
There were no injuries to any employees, residents or first responders.
The Peapack-Gladstone Resue Squad was assisted by the Far Hills-Bedminster First Aid Squad and the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management Emergency Medical Coordinators.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation Incident Management Unit assisted with traffic control on Route 206.
"I would like to commend our police and our volunteer fire and first aid for the excellent job that they did in the middle of the night to protect the town and the club. They really went above and beyond." said Mayor William Muller. "I am happy to hear that all of the police and first responders were unharmed. And I would like to thank all of the towns that provided mutual aid, and the county and state responders that were present."
The cause of the fire is unknown, according to Peapack-Gladstone Police Chief Gregory Skinner, and is not suspicious. Skinner has asked that if anyone has any information regarding this incident to contact the police department at (908) 234-0626.