A woman was badly burned when a fire destroyed her townhouse at 140 Bennington Dr. in the Twin Rivers neighborhood in a three-alarm fire March 5, according to the East Windsor Township Police Department.
Police officers who responded to a call for a house fire shortly before 2:30 p.m. found the townhouse fully involved in flames when they arrived. The woman had been pulled out of the house by a neighbor before police arrived.
The woman suffered burns to her arms, legs and head, in addition to cuts and scrapes, police said. She was airlifted by helicopter to Cooperman Barnabus Medical Center in Livingston, where she is listed in critical condition.
Cooperman Barnabus Medical Center, formerly known as Barnabas Medical Center, has a dedicated burn treatment center.
The fire call was elevated to three alarms because additional firefighters and fire trucks were needed to put out the fire. The heat from the fire was intense, causing the vinyl siding to melt and buckle on the row of townhouses opposite 140 Bennington Dr.
Cinderblock firewalls that spanned from the first floor to the roof stopped the fire from racing through the row of townhouses, containing it to 140 Bennington Dr. The roof collapsed, and the brick and cinderblock walls were scorched by flames.
Neighboring townhouses at 138 Bennington Dr. and 142 Bennington Dr. suffered moderate damage from the fire, police said. Fire burned through part of the roof at 138 Bennington Dr.
East Windsor code officials inspected the townhouses at 138 Bennington Dr. and 142 Bennington Dr. and declared them to be uninhabitable. Red stickers were placed on the front door to the houses, leaving the residents homeless.
The day after the fire, a steady stream of people walked past and stared at the remnants of the townhouse. A kitchen sink was laying upside down in the front yard. Charred wood and part of the front door had been tossed into the front yard, which was cordoned off by orange construction fencing and yellow caution tape.
A smoke detector at 138 Bennington Dr. continued to sound the alert. The sliding glass door to the deck was boarded up.
Twin Rivers resident Andrew Borg, who was walking his dog, was one of the passersby on the day after the fire. He said he watched the fire as it burned through the townhouse the day before.
“I walked over and in a short time, it spread. I felt so bad. I was amazed at how quickly it spread, but the fire department was on top of everything,” Borg said.
Firefighters from East Windsor Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 and East Windsor Volunteer Fire Co. No. 2, along with the Hightstown Engine Co. No. 1, the Princeton Fire Department and West Windsor Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1 were among the 13 fire departments that responded to the fire.
Fire companies from Plainsboro Township, Millstone Township, Monroe Township, Jamesburg, Hamilton Township, Manalapan Township and Allentown also responded to the fire.
Capital Health Systems paramedics and emergency medical technicians from East Windsor Township Districts 1 and 2 also responded, along with Cranbury EMS and Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad.
The cause of the fire is under investigation by the East Windsor Township Police Department and the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.