Posts Tagged ‘Fire chief’

It’s still dark, the phone is ringing?? It’s 5:30am! WTF? It’s Susan and from her voice I can tell she is upset.  FIRE!! Oh no, not again…just like last March.  She can’t tell where it is but the fire engines are going north on Central Ave.  I jump out of bed, and look out the door of the guest room and there it is-an eerie orange glow in the northern sky.  I’m going. Dress quickly, grab camera, license, gloves, hat, rain boots, car keys (I forgot my house keys).  Later I realized I didn’t have a lens in or a pair of glasses.  I drove up Broadway to Ocean Ave and went North to Ocean Pathway.  I parked the car in front of the Pavillion because I knew the police wouldn’t let me go any further.

I walked to Surf Avenue and saw the flames engulfing whatever fuel their greedy fingers could reach.   The fire apparently started in a construction site where a former boarding house stood and was in the process of being rebuilt as condos.  But in Ocean Grove, fire never stops where it starts.  Already the house to the west had flames shooting out of the roof.   The police tape was up so I could only get so close but clearly the fire had already jumped to the next street to the north-Atlantic Avenue.  Just like last year, the wind sent sparks flying and fanned the flames so they were able to leap to the houses behind the site.

People were gathering quickly, word of a fire in the Grove spreads as quickly as the fire does.   I watched a man try to get across the street – later I spoke to him and one of the houses that were being “streamed” with water simultaneously while the firemen valiantly tried to control the blaze or blazes as now there were at least 4 houses on fire.

I focused on this little bungalow thinking it would survive but then smoke started to seep out of the dormer.  OH GOD!!! I don’t think anyone had been in that house and I thought how devastating it would be to find out that the little cottage you left during the week or winter would be gone AND everything in it 😦  The bungalow was all that was left between the fire and the house of the man I met on the sidewalk.   The firemen were soaking his house from the front and the back as he paced back and forth but basically remained calm and resolute.

I imagined myself in hysterics jumping up and down in his place.  We have so many one of a kind collectibles in the cottage and worse yet the cats.   Cats are not like dogs who would follow you, come to you or bolt out-no cats would hide under the bed amidst the “stuff” stored there and you wouldn’t be able to get them out easily and quickly and unfortunately quickly is the key word in a town of wooden houses.  As far as I know, all animals got out, all the people got out although one elderly gentlemen was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, fire,

Fire Before the Dawn

Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, construction site blaze

Surf Avenue Blaze

Atlantic Avenue, Ocean Grove

Atlantic Avenue Houses are Destroyed

the bungalow, Surf Avenue, Ocean Grove, NJ

Trying to save the Bungalow

streaming, crane, Atlantic Avenue

Streaming the gold house from behind

I got to the fire about 5:45am and the fires were roaring;  I left about 7am and now it’s 10:30am-some fire trucks have just gone west on Broadway, several flatbed trucks and pick-up trucks have gone east on Broadway which makes me think that some clean up is taking place.   In about an hour I have to pick up Peter and we will go by the site or as close as we can get and I hope to post “the remains of the day”.

My thoughts and prayers are with my neighbors who lost so much today.  I may not live next door to them…however, this is a small community and one person’s loss is felt by all.  The temporary shelter is up and running;  Susan brought dog food and leashes and I contributed kitty litter.  I’m so sad over this destruction-every historic home lost in this little community cannot be replaced.  The very charm of Ocean Grove lies in its Victorian cottages and of course its community.  And every time there is a fire, the phrase, “…there but for the grace of God…” comes to mind.



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