TOMS RIVER–The Toms River Fire District No. 1 has issued the following release regarding this week’s structure fire on Cattus Island Boulevard:
On Wednesday, January 30, 2013 @ 11:24am, the East Dover Vol. Fire Company, Fire District #1, Station 28 was dispatched to 1167 Cattus Island Blvd, for a reported structure fire. At 11:26 am, Ex-Chief, Doug Foley, who lives nearby, arrived on scene and reported, a two story, wood framed, single family dwelling, with heavy smoke and fire emanating from the second floor, rear of the residence. All occupants were out of the house however, multiple animals were trapped in the home. Based upon Ex-Chief Foley’s report a General Alarm Assignment was dispatched, summoning TR Fire District #1 Stations 25, (TR Fire Company #1), 26, (TR Fire Company #2), Fire District #2, 29, (Silverton Fire Co.), 30, (Pleasant Plains Fire Co.) and 53, (Island Heights Fire Co).
Fire Chief, Richard Tutella arrived and established command of the incident, with Fire Chief, Eddie Storino, Station 26, directing fire ground operations, assisted by Chief, Ken Balfrey, station 53.
Engines 2801 of Station 28 was the first engine on location. An aggressive, offensive, interior attack was initiated. Firefighters Mike LaFalce, and Kyle Schmidt, led by Lt. Travis Seaman and Assistant Chief James Golden entered the front door of the home advancing a 1 3/4″ hose line to the second floor. Heavy fire was encountered at the top of the stairs. A second hose line was deployed to back up the first line, Firefighters John Hafner, Bill Rodriquez and Russell of Station 30, also advanced to the second floor. The main body of fire on the second floor was quickly knocked down, however the fire had extended into the attic, which compromised the roof system of the home. Due to the advancing fire conditions within the attic and fear of collapse, all firefighters were evacuated from the structure. Ladder 2865 began a defensive attack, from the exterior above the structure, quickly knocking down the fire within the attic, that had penetrated the roof system. Upon gaining control of the fire within the attic, firefighters re-entered the home to extinguish the remaining body of fire with hand lines.
During the re-entry Assistant Chief Patrick Beebe, station 26, and Firefighter Pete Dowdell, station 28 entered the structure and conducted a search for the missing animals. The search team located a German Sheppard dog, along with three cats. Upon exiting the structure the animals were turned over to the Toms River Twp. emergency medical service, CSO’s who applied oxygen, utilizing pet masks. Two cats and the German Sheppard were revived, with one cat expiring.
The fire departments remained on scene until 1:20pm performing salvage and overhaul operations. While the fire was being fought by the Toms River and Island Heights Fire Companies, the TR stations were covered by surrounding fire departments, in order to respond to additional calls if required. The Ocean County Fire Coordinators were also on the scene to assist the incident commander staffing the stations.
Chief Tutela credits the team work of the Fire Departments on scene for a successful operation, as no firefighters were injured and several pets were saved during the fire.
The origin and cause of the fire is under investigation by The Toms River Twp. Bureau of Fire Prevention, TR Twp. Police Fire/Arson Investigation Unit, and the Ocean County Sheriffs Department Criminal Investigations Unit.