BERNARDSVILLE, NJ - The Station Restaurant and Pub remains closed this weekend, and residents who had been living in the 19th century building are displaced, following a middle-of-the-night blaze on Friday that drew firefighters and emergency responders from throughout the area. The Red Cross assisted families in finding immediate shelter, the agency stated in a release. All three residential floors sustained heavy damage. In one area, the floor collapsed. In another, the ceiling collapsed with smoke and water damage throughout the structure, authorities said.
Along with police and the Bernardsville Fire Co. and emergency volunteers, the Basking Ridge and Liberty Corner fire companies were among the firefighting organizations that battled the fire for hours that apparently began upstairs. The firefighters managed to save the building at 45 Mine Brook Road.
According to The Station's Facebook page, the fire did not reach the restaurant, and the damage to the restaurant is minimal.
Footage of the firefighters' battle to contain the fire, which reportedly started at about 2:15 a.m. on Friday, is posted on YouTube.
According to the Bernardsville Fire Co., firefighters responded to an alarm at 2:16 a.m. on Friday, and found smoke coming from some of the upstairs. The Bernardsville Fire Co.'s Assistant Chief Ronald Salko already was assisting Bernardsville police in going to each apartment to alert residents, the Facebook page said.
"Our first due engine crew made an aggressive attack and located the fire room and began extinguishing the fire," the fire company Facebook said. "Because the fire was in the floor and walls there was a very large amount of manpower intensive work needed to get to and extinguish all the fire. We were assisted in this by our responding mutual aid companies who, as always, provided the excellent level of professional service that we have come to expect."
Who to contact to assist displaced residents
The Bernardsville Police Department Office of Emergency management released information on Facebook that local residents or organizations wanting to assist residents displaced from their apartments by the fire should contact Beka Baranowski LSW, the volunteer Social Services Coordinator for the Bernardsville OEM, at at 727-480-2471. Baranowski will coordinate assistance with Somerset County Social Services and other local organizations, police said.
Mine Brook Road reportedly remained closed for several hours.
"Because of all of us working together the fire was held to a minimum, everyone got out safely, and everyone went home," the Bernardsville Fire Co. said on Facebook. The fire company credited the Bernardsville Police Department, Far Hills Bedminster Fire Company. Liberty Corner Fire Company. Basking Ridge Fire Company. Peapack-Gladstone Fire Company. Mendham Borough Fire Company. Lyons-VA Fire Company. Stirling Fire Company, the Morris Plains Fire Department, and Somerset and Morris County Fire coordinators and special services. "We hope we didn't miss anyone," the Facebook page added.
Geraldine Infantolino, General Manager of The Station expressed gratitude on Facebook, and said the restaurant hopes to reopen before the restaurant's 10th anniversary in March.
The building was constructed as The Claremont Hotel in 1878, according to The Station's website. It remained a small hotel until 1922 until the top floor was converted into a plumbing business showroom, the website said. After several other uses, Hampshire Properties said it purchased the property in 2006 and opened the casual Station Pub & Grub. It was remodeled and reopened as The Station with a new menu in 2013.
According to the Bernardsville Fire Co. the volunteer members spent Friday back at the building assisting the investigation and helping police guide residents to remove some of their belongings. After putting our equipment back in service our members spent the day back at the scene assisting in the investigation, and also helping police guide residents to remove some belongings, along with "a displaced and scared cat."
"We do this because it is a passion and a way to help protect and serve our community and the community has once again shown us what a great community it is we serve," the fire company said on Facebook. "Thank you to all the residents and business in town that brought us food, coffee and kind words and thank yous. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated."