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Son killed, father critically injured during Old Bridge fire

OLD BRIDGE – A 68-year-old man was killed and his 89-year-old father was critically injured in a fire at their home in Old Bridge on  Jan. 31.

Joseph Berna, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the fire erupted on the first floor of the single-family Judy Court home he shared with his father around 1 a.m., according to a statement prepared by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief William Volkert of the Old Bridge Police Department (OBPD).

The father, whose identity is being withheld at this time, was rushed to The Burn Unit at St. Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, where he was listed in critical but stable condition as of press time, according to the statement.

The father was rescued when two Old Bridge police officers arrived, grabbed a nearby ladder, and climbed to a second-floor window to retrieve the man from the burning building, officials said.

By that time, Old Bridge firefighters arrived and helped carry the injured man to safety. The fire departments assisting in battling the blaze were identified as the Old Bridge Fire Department, the East Brunswick Fire Department, the Madison Park Fire Department, the Monroe Township Fire Department District 1, the Robertsville Fire Department,and the Spotswood Fire Department.

However, two firefighters were treated for minor injuries and were taken to Raritan Bay Medical Center, Old Bridge Division, where they were treated for minor injuries and were released, according to the statement.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but is not considered suspicious at this time, according to officials. An investigation is under the direction of the Middlesex County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Old Bridge District 3 Bureau of Fire Prevention, the OBPD and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Curt Halas of the OBPD at 732-721-5600, ext. 3202, or Detective Nicholas Chiorello of the MCPO at 732-745-3848.


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