More than a dozen fire companies responded to the scene of a fully-involved two alarm fire in Bethlehem Township that destroyed a Vietnam War veteran's home Thursday morning, authorities said.
The blaze broke out at 435 Bellwood Avenue just after 11 a.m., Pattenburg Volunteer Fire Company officials said.
Heavy smoke was billowing from the home’s front door as rescue crews arrived, and the second alarm was struck just before 11:15, authorities said.
The blaze was knocked out shortly after 1:30 p.m. with assistance from the Hunterdon County and Bethlehem Township Offices of Emergency Management, South Branch Rescue, NJSP, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor, NJ Fire Marshal, Quakertown Fire, Clinton Fire, Hampton Fire, Glen Gardner Fire, Franklin Township Fire (Warren County), West and North County Tanker Task Force, Stewartsville Fire, Pohatcong Fire and Alpha Fire.
Several firefighters were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and overexertion but none were seriously injured, Acting Prosecutor Michael J. Williams said.
“I commend the dedication and commitment of the volunteer firefighters from Hunterdon and Warren Counties and everyone who participated for their quick response to this fire," said Williams. "We are grateful to the firefighters that worked throughout the afternoon to extinguish the blaze. We are very fortunate to have such a fine and dedicated volunteer system of brave men and women."
The couple that lived in the home — a Vietnam War veteran and a healthcare worker — were able to escape safely with their dog, Jake, according to a GoFundMe created by the couple’s neighbor, Ellen Russo. The home, however, sustained irreparable damage.
“They need help rebuilding their home and securing stability during the time it will take to get back on their feet,” wrote Russo on the fundraiser, which had garnered more than $2,400 in donations as of Friday morning.
“They are good people and we would like to do what we can to help. Anything you can donate is appreciated and will go toward the family starting over.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.