Cause Of Four-Alarm House Fire On North Avenue Still Unclear

Cranford fire officials are unable to enter the home and investigate the cause of the June 24 blaze due to the instability of the chimney.

Fire officials have not yet determined the cause of the that caused heavy damage to a home at 217 North Ave. West on June 24.

According to , the home was "heavily damaged" when flames tore through the top two floors of the dwelling.

"We're unable to go in an investigate because the chimney is not stable," Dolan said.

Officials are waiting for the homeowner's insurance company to take action so that the chimney can be stablized, allowing investigators to go inside the house and determine the origin of the fire. Dolan said that the cause of the blaze does not appear to be suspicious.

The fire was reported just after 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. The fire quickly spread throughout the upper part of the home, causing Cranford firefighters to request mutual aid from nearby municipalities. As the situation was elevated to a three-alarm fire, crews were forced to open the roof.

At about 5:45 p.m., commanding officers on the scene requested that an EMS Special Operations Tent be set up across the street from the house. As crews continued to try and bring the fire under control, firefighters could be seen exiting the house and going to the EMS tent, where they were given water. Emergency medical technicians took blood pressure and examined a few of the firefighters as they crossed the street to the medical tent.

"In a big fire when it's hot, it's standard procedure to have an EMS mobile unit on the scene," Dolan said.

Dolan said no major injuries were reported, but as a result of the heat and conditions inside the burning structure, one member of the Fanwood Fire Department was taken to Overlook Hospital in Summit and treated for dehydration. He was released soon after with no other medical issues reported as a result of the fire.

The son of homeowner Jeanette Bilson is a member of the Union County Hazmat Team and NJFMBA Local 99 who serves as a volunteer emergency worker in Garwood. Members of UC Hazmat are requesting any assistance or donations to help the family. For information, contact Erin Macri at 908-943-8081, Ryan Ruhl at 862-955-0538 or Allie Califf at 862-955-0495 to make arrangements.

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