A quick-moving three-alarm structure fire Saturday on Laurel Avenue in Union turned dangerous when firefighters were forced to evacuate and the home was almost completely destroyed, fire officials said Sunday.
Although the fire was technically in Union County, Maplewood firefighters were in charge of the scene until firefighters realized the home was actually in Union County and turned over control of the blaze to them.
When firefighters first arrived at 86 Laurel Ave. around 6:30 p.m., they were greeted with heavy smoke and fire conditions, according to Maplewood Fire Capt. Joe Callaghan.
“We attacked the fire through the front door,” Callaghan said, but shortly after entering the home, firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to find the source of the fire and discovered the fire read white, meaning it was “really hot.” Firefighters determined the blaze was a basement fire.
A short while later, firefighters retreated from the home after they saw the stairs collapse into the basement and realized all the floors were compromised.
Firefighters then began to fight the fire outside the residence with the help of firefighters from Union, Irvingston, South Orange and Millburn. In all, 25 firefighters were involved in fighting the blaze.
Callaghan said Maplewood took control of fighting the fire and incident Commander Mike DeMartini in charge. However, a check of the address found the residence was actually in Union and they took over control of the firefighting efforts. There were no residents in the house at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.