SPARTA, NJ- An early morning structure fire today, at a home in the Lake Mohawk section of Sparta has killed a man and injured a Sparta Firefighter. At 5:36 a.m. multiple 9-1-1 calls reported a two story lake style home on Heighwood Trail was on fire.
When Officer Craig Grauerholz arrived on scene the house was completely engulfed in flames. There was no way Grauerholz or the other responding officers could attempt to get anyone out of the home.
Fire Departments from Sparta Township, Andover Township and Ogdensburg battled the fire for several hours before the scene could be declared safe. In the home, on the first floor, firefighters found the body of a male. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body is currently in the custody of the Morris County Medical Examiner’s Office. His identity is not being disclosed at this time, pending notification of the next of kin. The victim was the only person in the home at the time of the fire.
The home was completely destroyed by the blaze. A neighboring home also sustained significant damage to the side of the residence due from the intense heat of the fire next door.
A veteran Sparta Fire Department Fireman, 37 year-old Lt. Anthony Riehl, suffered second degree burns to his shoulder and back while searching the home for victims. He was treated at St. Barnabas Hospital’s Burn Unit in Livingston for his injuries. He was released later in the day.
The fire is currently under investigation by members of the Sparta Police Department’s Detective Bureau, The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police and the Sussex County Fire Marshal. The Sparta First Aid Squad and Paramedics from St. Clare’s in Sussex also assisted at the scene.