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Tenant, 64, Therapy Dog Killed In Cluttered Wayne House Fire

A 64-year-old tenant living amid an enormous collection of tools, equipment and large buckets was killed, along with his therapy dog, in a Thursday night blaze in Wayne, authorities confirmed.

The tenant and his pet were dead, and the house was a total loss.
The tenant and his pet were dead, and the house was a total loss. Photo Credit: Michael Jannicelli for DAILY VOICE

The rented cabin on Ratzer Road had "debris everywhere," a responder said. "We're unsure if it had running water or even heat or electricity."

Firefighters battled valiantly, but the 7:42 p.m. blaze quickly went to three alarms as flames blew through the roof.

Robert Freudenberg and his dog, Popeye, were later found dead inside.

All five township fire companies responded, along with a warming bus and the Wayne Township Memorial First Aid Squad.

A PSE&G crew also was summoned.

The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office was investigating the cause.

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