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Posted March 14, 2014 EST

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Asbury Park Firefighters Battle 3 Suspicious Fires, And Revive Family Dog
United States (New Jersey) - Firefighters responded to three fires in the city within 24 hours this week, reviving a family dog found unconscious in one house and investigating another fire as said to be suspicious, the city fire chief said Thursday.

A fire reported at 9:34 p.m. Wednesday in the 1100 block of Sewall Avenue near Comstock Street has been labeled an arson, and the investigation was turned over to the Asbury Park Police Department, Fire Chief Kevin Keddy said.

However, a house fire reported at 10:47 a.m. Thursday at 1544 Asbury Ave. was ruled accidental, Keddy said. The fire started in a first-floor rear bedroom, and investigators could not rule out either improperly discarded smoking materials or an electrical equipment malfunction as a cause.

Keddy said the residents, who also were the homeowners, had smoke detectors inside the two-story house that were functioning when firefighters arrived and were able to get out.

“We had reports that everyone was out, but there was a missing dog. We were able to locate the dog,” Keddy said. “It was breathing but it was overcome by smoke.”

Keddy said city firefighter Michael Mautner found the small dog on the first floor in a corner of a room and brought the animal outside.

“So we gave it oxygen, then everyone jumped in the ambulance and we took it to Garden State Animal Hospital, where it is doing fine and will be kept for a couple of days,” Keddy said.

Everyone was out of the house when firefighters arrived, said Garrett Giberson, spokesman for the Asbury Park Fire Department.

“We had smoke and fire on the first floor, smoke pushing out from every place in the building and fire blasting out from both the first- and second-floor windows,” Keddy said

Keddy said firefighters were hampered by a lack of manpower at the fire scene because firefighters, who operate the city’s ambulances, were out on emergency medical service calls.

“Initially, we could only put one line in service because of the lack of manpower,” Keddy said.

The fire was knocked down in 45 minutes, but firefighters remained on the scene for two hours.

“Because we couldn’t get the second line in operation, it (the fire) was able to get ahead of us a little,” Keddy said.

“A shortage of manpower is a fact of life in Asbury Park, but my guys really got the job done. I’m very proud of them. It’s tough when you are in a financially strapped city to have the things you need,” Keddy said

Keddy said the house is uninhabitable, and the gas and electric service has been turned off. One firefighter was taken to the hospital for treatment after having difficulty breathing, Keddy said. He was later released, he said.

On the 1100 block of Sewall Avenue, firefighters battled heavy fire and smoke conditions Wednesday night when they arrived at a vacant two-story home that was burning, fire officials said.

“The fire is suspicious,” Keddy said. “We did find the point of origin, and cause, and turned that over to the police department. The Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office also is investigating,” Keddy said.

He said the fire started on the first floor, and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters from the city and neighboring Neptune responded to the scene, fire officials said.

“Firefighters found heavy fire conditions on the first floor when they arrived,” Giberson said.

The cause of Wednesday’s fire is being investigated by the Monmouth County Fire Marshal’s Office, the Asbury Park Bureau of Fire Prevention and the Asbury Park Police Department, Giberson said.

A fire at a nine-story apartment building that is being renovated was reported at 3:14 p.m. Wednesday, fire officials said.

No one was injured in the blaze, which started on the side of the building in a shed that houses a backup generator, Keddy said. The building, Kingsley Arms Apartments, is at 200 Deal Lake Drive.

“The fire started in a lean-to shed attached to the outside of the building. It was caused by faulty electrical equipment relating to the emergency backup generator,” Keddy said.

“A fast response prevented it from being a bad fire,” the chief said. “Mostly, the fire was outside the main part of the building in the attached shed, and it had just started to extend into the basement of the building when we were able to stop it.

Written by Stephanie Loder


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