North Caldwell Police Sgt Karl Strodthoff Prevents Tragedy at Large Fairfield House Fire Monday Morning, May 23
by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.com
FAIRFIELD, NJ - Monday morning, at about 9:51am, the Fairfield Fire Department responded with Fairfield Police to a home on Ralph Drive on reports of an active fire; they arrived there after having been notified by neighbors of the flames shooting from the home. It happened that the three occupants at the house were completely unaware of the fire which was already beginning to burn out of control.
North Caldwell Police Sgt Karl Strodthoff, off-duty at the time, was traveling through the neighborhood and quickly began knocking on the door of the residence to alert the occupants; all of those inside escaped the blaze with no injuries.
When first responders arrived at the scene, they witnessed a fully-engulfed fire coming from the garage and roof area. Soon after, the West Caldwell, North Caldwell and Verona fire departments responded with mutual aid, and the West Essex First Aid Squad stood by at the scene.
“These residents were unaware of the fire that was consuming their house
By 10:20am, all firefighters inside the home were evacuated from the structure while the roof began collapsing into the home.
Caldwell, Cedar Grove and Pine Brook firefighters provided coverage at Fairfield's firehouses, and the Verona Rescue Squad provided house coverage for WEFAS.
The fire was under control by 11:30am.
Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna released the following statement:
On May 23, 2016, at approximately 9:56am, the Fairfield Police Department received multiple 911 calls reporting house fire at 11 Ralph Drive.
by Carolyne Volpe Curley / Carolyne@WestEssexNOW.co
FAIRFIELD, NJ - Late Saturday night, at about 11:45pm, the Fairfield Fire Department and West Essex First Aid Squad were called to the Pio Costa complex at 1275 Bloomfield Avenue to work on an active structure fire in Building 3.
Throughout the course of the evening, the Caldwell Fire Department, Cedar Grove Fire Department, Essex Fells Fire Department, Lincoln Park Fire Department, Little Falls Fire Department, North Caldwell Fire Department, Roseland Fire Department, Verona Fire Department, West Caldwell Fire Department and Morris County's Pine Brook Fire Department all responded with mutual aid along with the Roseland First Aid Squad.
"Fire crews were met with heavy fire conditions on arrival,"
One of the affected units reportedly housed an auto parts warehouse which included motor oils. The firefighters did their utmost to contain the flames which were shooting high into the air, amid live wires and multiple explosions.
The West Essex First Aid Squad arrived at the scene immediately and responded with
Members of the Nutley Fire Department, Totowa Fire Department, Wayne Fire Department all provided coverage at Fairfield's firehouses.
1:00am, the fire was still in progress and a call went out to and then the to respond for mutual aid.
At 1:15am, the fire was still going strong and the firefighters began to call for more water pressure on their lines. In response, the Essex Fells Fire Department set up what's called a "hard suction draft" from the Passaic River to provide more water to the firefighters.
At 1:45am, firefighters also dealt with a gas leak investigation at one of the buildings.
The fire was placed under control at 4:30am and according to Connolly, a small flare-up started again around 6:30am.
Sunday at 10:15am, a fire engine was dispatched to the scene as a precaution while the Fairfield DPW workers were using construction equipment to pull items out of the buildings.