A Brick Township woman who was rescued from a kitchen fire was the sole person injured in the blaze which broke out Saturday afternoon at the George Conway Towers on Chambers Bridge Road, part of the Brick Township Housing Authority complex.
According to a statement from police, a caller to 911 at 1:56 p.m. reported hearing a smoke alarm sounding from a neighbor’s unit and smelled smoke. The building is a five story apartment complex home to mostly senior citizens. Brick Police Sgt. Mike Feeney and Ptl. Rich Zimmerer were the first two officers to reach the burning apartment, the statement said. The officers forced the door open but were swept back by a heavy smoke condition in the unit. They awaited the arrival of firefighters who entered the apartment, found the resident in the unit and carried her to safety. Other firefighters entered and extinguished the fire.
Residents from the second and third floors were evacuated – 59 people in all, the statement said. Residents on the first, fourth and fifth floors were advised to shelter in place as the fire was “quickly controlled and extinguished.” The only injury sustained was to the resident who was rescued by firefighters. The 75-year-old woman was transported to Ocean Medical Center for treatment. No other injuries were reported. Emergency units remained on scene for approximately two-and-a-half hours before allowing the majority of residents back into the building.
The blaze was considered a three-alarm fire, drawing a response from Breton Woods, Pioneer Hose, Laurelton and Herbertsville Fire Companies, while all police officers on shift responded to help evacuate residents. Brick Police EMS set up triage and treatment zones. Mutual aid arrived from the Point Pleasant Fire Department, Silverton Fire Department and Point Pleasant EMS, whose members responded to assist.
Fire inspectors determined that the fire started in the kitchen of the apartment unit, however the cause is still under investigation by the Brick Fire Bureau and Brick Police Detectives.
“Bureau of Fire Safety Chief Kevin Batzel and Police Chief James Riccio commended the actions of all the first responders involved, stating that if not for the exceptional way in which they responded and handled the incident, there could have undoubtedly been many injuries or loss of life, and a greater deal of property damage,” the statement said.