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Keith Addie

ISELIN, NJ - – Firefighters had their hands full on August 17, 2013 battling a fire that quickly tore through a single-family residence in the Iselin section of Woodbridge Township, completely destroying the home.

The Iselin #11 and Iselin #9 Fire Departments were dispatched at approximately 2:25 p.m. to 19 Harding Ave. for a reported house fire with possible entrapment in the basement. Upon arrival, Woodbridge Police reported that all occupants were accounted for outside. Heavy smoke was showing throughout the one-story wood-frame home with heavy fire showing from the rear.

Two water supplies were established by Engine 9-5 and Engine 11-3 from opposite directions to feed both engines and Ladder 11-2-1 in front of the house. A hand line was stretched to the front door, while two additional hand lines were advanced down the B-side to extinguish heavy fire that was now showing from all the windows after the first floor flashed over. The bulk of the fire was darkened from the exterior allowing the suppression team at the front door to advance and conduct an interior attack on the fire that remained in the rear. A crew from Truck 9-2-4 gained access to the roof and conducted vertical ventilation as the suppression team advanced through the front door.

Heavy smoke continued to pour from the house as interior crews advanced inside. Flames started to show from a window on the D-side of the home threatening a nearby exposure. A hand line was stretched by Fords firefighters to darken the fire and protect the exposure that was starting to suffer heat damage. The fire was knocked down quickly and the exposure was protected with the one hand line.

The majority of the flames were extinguished around 2:55 p.m., but firefighters continued to chase pockets of fire and conduct extensive overhaul throughout the structure. The fire was declared under control at approximately 3:40 p.m.

The home sustained heavy fire damage throughout and was deemed uninhabitable by the Woodbridge Township Building Department. No civilians were injured, but three firefighters suffered minor injuries and were transported to the hospital where they were treated and released.

Mutual aid fire departments from Avenel, Fords, Hopelawn, Keasbey, and Woodbridge assisted at the scene, while Metuchen and South Plainfield provided coverage during the incident.

Woodbridge Township Mutual Aid Coordinators were on scene and handled accountability and staging of mutual aid apparatus.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Iselin #11 Fire Prevention Bureau, but it appears to have started somewhere in the rear of the house.

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