23 Aug 2014
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Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire

'Things got pretty bad pretty quick,' fire chief said of blaze that ripped through multi-family building.

Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire

One person was hospitalized after being rescued from the second floor of a multi-family home on Park Avenue Saturday morning, according to Bob Landrigan, Office of Emergency Management coordinator.

Madison Fire Chief Lou DeRosa said the cause of the fire, which was reported just after 9 a.m., is still under investigation, but officials believe the blaze began in the basement. The building, which DeRosa said houses four apartment units, is uninhabitable after the first two floors and part of the roof collapsed just after 11 a.m.

Three people were inside the building when the call of the fire came in, Landrigan said. A woman, whose identity has not been released, was trapped on the second floor and rescued by firefighters from the burning structure, Landrigan said. 

DeRosa said firefighters initially focused their efforts in the basement, where they had believed another person may have been trapped. 

"Things got pretty bad pretty quick from that point forward," DeRosa said. "The fire really kind of grew inside."

Once they learned no one was trapped in the basement, the firefighters made their way to the second floor, where they found the woman "in a corner, curled up with the dog," DeRosa said. DeRosa said the woman was conscious but was coughing.

Though no firefighters were injured, DeRosa said they were faced with challenges as they navigated through the burning building and still tried to maintain safety for themselves.

"The fire, we couldn't get in front of it fast enough," he said.

Luis Pinzon, who lives on the first floor of the three-apartment structure, said he smelled smoke and called 911. He and his wife were in the kitchen at the time.

"Everything I had is gone," Pinzon said. "My papers, my keys, everything. I have nothing now."

The building, on the corner of Loveland Street and Park Avenue, had become a shell of a structure as it was engulfed by flames. DeRosa said the building was an old structure, formerly a storefront grocery store.

"It was just a stubborn fire in a very old structure," he said.

Madison Electric turned off power to some areas of the borough due to the house fire, police said in a Nixle alert. Power will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so, police said, and there is no need to report a power outage. Gas and water services were also shut off, DeRosa said.

Firefighters remained on the scene until about 6 p.m. Information is still being gathered and officials are planning to re-enter the building on Monday to attempt to determine the cause of the fire.

The Florham Park, Chatham Township, Chatham Borough, Morristown and Morris Township fire departments were among the neighboring responders on the scene.

Ariana Sheehan contributed to this story.

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