NORTH PLAINFIELD, N.J. – Wednesday's early morning three-alarm fire on Maple Avenue - the third in two weeks - has been labeled suspicious, with an individual being questioned by police, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.
The other two fires occurred on May 12 and May 16.
Morth Plainfield police detectives, joined by detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office are investigating, but have not linked any of the fires.
Three structures were damaged, and two families displaced fire by Wednesday's fire, which was reported to police via a 911 call at 2:40 a.m. The fire started in a home at 197 Maple Ave. that was under construction, and spread to the neighbors' homes on either side. The home where the fire started was leveled.
Fire companies from North Plainfield, Bridgewater/Finderne, Bound Brook, Green Brook, Watchung, Warren, Plainfield and South Plainfield responded to extinguish the residential fire. Emergency medical personnel from North Plainfield, Watchung, Union County Rehab and Dunellen also responded to the scene to render aid. Officers from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office responded to assist North Plainfield Police in securing the scene.
Footage from a New York news channel showed police escorting a man in handcuffs, wearing a baseball cap, dark glasses, white t-shirt, white shorts and sneakers from the fire scene.
On May 12. two residents were injured in a three-alarm fire in a residence on Grove Street, according to Robertson.
Police and fire personnel responded to a 911 call reporting the fire at 11:03 a.m., according to Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and North Plainfield Chief of Police William Parenti.
The two male residents were transported to an undisclosed trauma center; one was listed in critical condition, according to police.
A multi-alarm residential fire on Willow Avenue May 16 took 60 minutes to control and displaced several famiilies from the multi-family dwelling, accordign to Parenti.
Police received several 911 calls around 11 a.m. to report the fire.
Responding to the three-alarm fire were fire companies from Somerset North Plainfield, Bridgewater / Finderne, Bound Brook, Green Brook, Watchung and Warren, South Plainfield and Plainfield and Dunellen. Resident of the building had evacuated before fire personnel arrived and there were no injuries reported.
Robertson, Fodor and Parenti request anyone with information to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the North Plainfield Police Department at (908) 769-2937 or via the STOPit app.
The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.
Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All anonymous STOPit reports and Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.