A 75-year-old woman was hospitalized and 59 other apartment house tenants evacuated during a three-alarm fire in Ocean County, authorities said.
The fire gutted a third-floor apartment at George J. Conway Towers on Chambers Bridge Road on Saturday, according to Brick Township police.
At 1:56 p.m. on Saturday, Brick police and area firefighters received a call from a resident who smelled smoke and heard a smoke alarm sounding from a neighbor’s housing unit. The building is a five-story apartment complex home to mostly senior citizens.
Brick Police Sgt. Mike Feeney and Patrol Officer Rich Zimmerer were the first two officers to reach the burning apartment. The officers forced the door open but were kept back by heavy smoke. They awaited the arrival of firefighters who entered the apartment, found the resident in the apartment and carried her to safety, police said.
Other firefighters entered and extinguished the fire.
Breton Woods, Pioneer Hose, Laurelton and Herbertsville Fire Companies responded to fight the three-alarm blaze while all police officers on shift responded to help evacuate residents.
Brick Township police and EMS crews set up triage and treatment zones.
Mutual aid from Point Pleasant Fire Department, Silverton Fire Department and Point Pleasant EMS responded to assist.
Residents from the second and third floors were evacuated, 59 people in all, police said.
Residents on the first, fourth and fifth floors were advised to shelter in place as the fire was quickly controlled and extinguished.
One resident rescued by firefighters was taken to Ocean Medical Center for treatment. No other injuries were reported.
Emergency units remained on scene for nearly three hours before allowing the majority of residents back into the building, police said.
Fire inspectors determined that the fire started in the kitchen however the cause is still under investigation by the Brick Fire Bureau and Brick Police detectives.
Bureau of Fire Safety Chief Kevin Batzel and Police Chief James Riccio commended the actions of all of the first responders involved, saying that if not for the exceptional way in which they responded and handled the incident there could have undoubtedly been many injuries or loss of life, and more property damage.
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