One of the windows removed by the fire department, where flames had previously been, on the second floor of 39 Eagle Drive. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Several of the local fire departments on the scene in the Hampton Commons. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Two members of the Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Company on the scene. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Hampton Commons Structure Fire Contained And Under Investigation
Wednesday, September 5, 2012 • 4:20pm
HAMPTON TOWNSHIP, NJ – The normally peaceful Hampton Commons turned into chaos this afternoon as a structure fire in the development brought local fire departments and rescue squads to the scene, curious onlookers searching for answers, and traffic tie ups within the streets as emergency personnel contained the blaze.
“There is smoke and water damage, but there was not a lot of structural damage, the fire department got here really fast,” said Sheriff Michael Strada, one of the parties who responded.
The fire, which was at 39 Eagle Drive, was called in at 1:35pm, said Hampton Township Fire Department Chief David Gunderman.
“It was called in as a dryer fire,” Gunderman said.
When the fire department arrived, Gunderman said flames covered the whole second story of the home, and were visible from inside the windows.
“You could see it was fully involved,” said Gunderman.
Gunderman said one resident who was within the unit, exited safely. Gunderman noticed the resident’s cat sitting on the couch of the living room on the first floor of the residence, wrapped it with a blanket, and rescued it from the building.
“I covered the cat with the blanket because I didn’t want to get bit,” Gunderman said.
Although the fire may have started from the dryer, which was on the first floor, it traveled to the second floor.
“It doesn’t matter where the location of the fire is, it’s [the dryer] vented,” Gunderman explained. “The fire was contained to the second floor in the bathroom within the bedroom.”
Gunderman said the first and second hose lines extinguished the fire immediately. The fire department removed the unit’s windows upstairs to also help calm the blaze.
Neighbors in the adjacent units, 37 and 41 Eagle Drive, were unaffected by the fire, Gunderman said.
He explained this was the first working structure fire for the department since the box alarm system has been implemented. The neighborhood within the Hampton Commons is assigned to box alarm system number 48-07.
Gunderman said every zone (the zone where today’s fire occurred was 48-07) has a common alarm. The initial siren was blasted out by Hampton Township Fire Department, Gunderman said, and then from there, it is predetermined by the chiefs of the department what equipment is needed to fight fires in the particular areas for each individual emergency.
Gunderman said the box alarm system is now currently being implemented throughout Sussex County, and his department began using the system a month ago.
Once the fire inspector has surveyed the building, Gunderman said he would ascertain if the residents could return to their home, or not.
As for the verdict of what started the blaze, Gunderman said, “The fire is undetermined at this time, until the investigation is done.”
Agencies that responded to the incident included: the Hampton Township Volunteer Fire Department, the Hampton Township Volunteer Fire Department's Rescue Squad, the Andover Township Volunteer Fire Department, the Fredon Volunteer Fire Company, the Stillwater Area Volunteer Fire Company, the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office, and the New Jersey State Police.
The Alternative Press will continue to provide coverage on this story, as details become available.