Primrose Drive Fire Under Investigation
An investigation is being conducted to determine if fire started before or after the power grid was restored to that section of New Providence.
A fire broke out at a house at 31 Primrose Drive around 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The family was not home at that time and no injuries were reported.
New Providence Fire Chief Ralph Parlapiano said the power grid was restored in that section of town around the time the fire began, after the power was out for days following the snowstorm last Saturday, and an investigation is being conducted to determine what started the fire and “if the power was turned on prior the fire or after to the fire — that’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
“A neighbor called in and said he saw smoke coming out of the house and one of our members lives up the street,” Parlapiano told Patch Thursday night. “She came running down and she said, ‘there’s heavy smoke coming out.’ We cut holes in the back of the roof, went through the front door with two hose lines.”
Berkeley Heights Fire Department and Chatham Borough Fire Department assisted New Providence Fire Department at the scene.
“Once we got here, it was pretty quick,” Parlapiano said. “There was a lot of smoke and heat, we had to get everything vented, but the fire was knocked down within a couple minutes.”
He said the structure is not stable and uninhabitable, and the Red Cross was contacted to assist the homeowners.
Parlapiano confirmed that it is possible something in the house was left on and started the fire once the power came back on, but he doesn’t know for sure and an investigation should reveal if the fire and the power restoration are related.
The Union County Sheriff’s ID Unit and Union County Arson Squad were conducting the investigation at the scene, which Parlapiano said is normal after a fire.
“We don’t think it’s arson, but they have an investigation team so we called them up,” Parlapiano said.
New Providence resident Ed Morgan, who called 9-1-1 to report the fire, said he was driving down the street to his home when he saw flames in his peripheral vision.
“I thought, ‘flames in kitchen window? I better pull over,’” Morgan told Patch Thursday night. “I made sure my dog was secured in the car, ran over and low and behold, flames — I was seeing them from the top of the range to the ceiling. I was looking in there thinking maybe I could find a hose and the next thing I realized was the flames were shooting out the window and I’m thinking, ‘holy mackerel, the car [in the driveway] is going to go off.’”
Morgan said the police were at the scene within minutes and the firefighters soon followed.
Marian Lordi, a New Providence resident, said she was playing football with her son when the fire began.
“My son saw the fire coming out of the back of the house and I didn’t even get a chance to call 9-1-1, the police were already here,” Lordi said.
The homeowners did not wish to comment.
New Providence Patch will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.