WESTFIELD, NJ — Jake Tooley, a Westfield High School class of 2016 graduate, died Monday morning in a fire at his home on Prospect Street according to a message, posted by his brother Sam Tooley, on the Westfield, NJ Facebook group.
The fire tore through the home located on the 1200 block of Prospect Street in the early morning hours August 28, according to Westfield Fire Chief David Kelly. Two family members were able to escape, said Kelly. Firefighters got the call at 2:46 a.m. and, according to the Fire Chief, upon arrival they encountered heavy fire conditions on the first floor. Kelly said firefighters immediately began to attack the fire and began rescue operations.
"It took two hours to get the fire under control," Kelly said. "At the height of the fire, there were over 50 firefighters from Union County on the scene working to bring the fire under control." Tooley had been trapped on the second floor, Kelly said. The house was heavily damaged in the fire, which burned through the roof, he said.
Jake Tooley had been a member of the Westfield High School golf and cross country teams.
“My brother was an amazing man. Young, but wise beyond his years out of necessity due to what life had dealt him over the last few years,” Sam Tooley wrote.
“Early this morning tragedy struck,” he wrote. “A fire consumed our home for over two hours, leaving us with almost nothing. Our house can be rebuilt. Our possessions can be replaced. My little brother however, will be forever missed.”
A GoFundMe page has been created by Joe Petti to help the family.
The Tooley’s puppy also died in the fire, according to the fundraising page. In the fire, Petti wrote, the family lost nearly all of their possessions, as well as their everyday necessities.
“All donations will be given directly to the Tooleys to aid them in regaining their everyday necessities and assist them in their continued move forward as a family,” he wrote.
Editor’s note: The Westfield, NJ Facebook group is run by TAPinto Westfield owner and editor Jackie Lieberman.