SOUTH BRUNSWICK – For the second time in a week, fire has destroyed a home of a South Brunswick family.
South Brunswick police received a 911 call from a passing motorist reporting a house on fire on Anderson Way around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 30. Monmouth Junction Fire Chief Scott Smith arrived in the development across from South Brunswick High School to find heavy fire from the top and rear of the home, according to information provided by the police department.
High winds led the flames to spread rapidly, officials said. Firefighters had to battle subzero wind chill temperatures and fierce winds to contain the blaze. The fire consumed much of the home and led the roof to collapse into the second floor, and the second floor to collapse into the first floor, according to the statement.
No residents were home at the start of the fire.
All three South Brunswick Fire Departments – Monmouth Junction, Kendall Park and Kingston – responded to the 2-alarm fire, as well as firefighters from Plainsboro, Jamesburg and North Brunswick Co. No. 2. The Monmouth Junction, South Brunswick, Kendall Park and North Brunswick first aid squads also responded to the scene.
“No one was home at the time. The fire gained considerable headway before firefighters were even dispatched. The freezing temperatures served to make fighting the fire more challenging, causing firefighters to have to be rotated to give them a chance to warm-up in fire trucks and ambulances before re-joining the battle to extinguish the blaze. It’s been a long time since we have had a structure fire like this one in temperatures that were so brutally cold. The extreme weather is challenging on firefighters and our equipment, but everyone did a great job despite the conditions,” Scott said in the statement.
South Brunswick Township Fire Safety Bureau is investigating the possible cause of the blaze, which was unknown, as of press time.
South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka credited the firefighters with battling severe conditions.
“Firefighters did a tremendous job working in some of the coldest temperatures in memory. It’s usual to have two fires destroy homes and displace families in one week. Our community has a history of rallying to support one another and I am sure we will do it again,” he said in the statement.
The family is staying with relatives in the area. Community members have started a donation page at www.gofundme.com/the-datla-family.
This comes one week after the Jan. 23 house fire on Fresh Ponds Road. The family escaped a two-alarm fire that destroyed their single-home. Initial reports state the fire started after a cell phone was charging in a power strip in the basement, according to information provided by police.
A fundraiser will be held from 4-7 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Princeton Elks Lodge 2129, 354 Route 518, Blawenburg. The cost is $15 for pasta, salad, bread, dessert and a drink. There will be raffles, prizes, music and more.
For more information on the fundraiser, call Mesha at 609-213-0311. Additional donations can be made through GoFundMe, under “Brooke and Billy House Fire.”