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Brick Firefighters Credited With Saving 148 Residents of Rehab, Nursing Facility

A Laurelton Fire Company truck. (Credit: Brick Fire)

A Laurelton Fire Company truck. (Credit: Brick Fire)

An electrical fire that was visible from a second-flood window of a rehabilitation and nursing facility in Brick was doused by Brick Township firefighters earlier this week, with the facility’s 148 patients having been brought to safety before it could spread.

Firefighters and other first responders were called to the Willow Springs Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center on Burnt Tavern Road at approximately 5:57 a.m. Tuesday, according to Chief Kevin Batzel of the Brick Township Bureau of Fire Prevention. The general alarm brought out all of the township’s fire companies, he said.

The first arriving officer, Assistant Chief Tom Thieme Jr., reported smoke from a second-floor unit. All 148 occupants were moved to safety by facility staff, arriving fire department personnel, Brick police and EMS units.

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“Upon further investigation it was determined that an electrical fire had occurred in room 210 in a light fixture,” said Batzel. “The fire was contained to the room of origin with some minor smoke damage. The Fire Department made quick work of the smoke condition and confirmed that the fire was under control within minutes of their arrival.”

The scene was under command of Chief David Bahrenburg, Fire District 2, and is being investigated by Inspector Robert Kurilla from the Brick Bureau of Fire Safety. One staff member and two occupants of the room where the fire originated were transported to Ocean University Medical Center with minor injuries reported.

“The quick and decisive actions taken by the staff of the facility are commendable,” said Batzel. “Due to their quick response to the incident, only minor injuries are reported and damage was contained to the fire origin room.”

Batzel stressed the importance of conducting and practicing fire drills, and having accurate fire evacuation plans, led to effective actions taken by the staff of the facility as well. Those actions, in conjunction with the fire department response “kept further injury and the fire small and controllable with minimal disruption to the building.”

“The Brick Bureau of Fire Safety would like to thank the quick response of all the Brick Township Fire Departments, our mutual aid partners, Brick Township Police, Brick EMS and Township Emergency Management for their quick response,” he said.

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