Berkeley Heights firefighters battled a smoky electrical blaze at 231 Gallinson Drive around 9:40 a.m. today, caused by a tree limb that snapped due to heavy winds and fell onto power lines, which were knocked out of the home’s electrical box.
Berkeley Heights Fire Chief Anthony Padovano said the homeowners were home when the electrical box in the home’s right wall caught fire and spread into the attic. Heavy winds played a factor in extinguishing the fire, which was placed under control around 10:30 a.m.
“We couldn’t open any windows because the wind would have fueled the fire behind the walls and it definitely could have been worse,” Padovano said.
Before firefighters could fully extinguish the fire, they had to wait for a Jersey Central Power & Light worker to cut the power to the home. The worker arrived shortly before 10:30.
“Mainly, it was standing by, waiting for the arrival of the power company until they could cut the power from the pole [across the street] to the home, and then it was just final extinction once we opened up the walls,” Padovano said.
Besides , more than 20 firefighters were on the scene. firefighters provided one engine for a backup line to the front door and a Watchung FD team supplied an engine company to assist a Chatham Township ladder truck. Summit FD had an engine company standing by as a “fast team” —group of firefighters whose sole purpose is to rescue trapped firemen on the inside if need be — and Stirling FD also provided manpower. Warren and Plainfield Fire Departments covered Berkeley Heights Fire Department headquarters to handle other fire calls, Padovano said.
Despite damage to the right side of the home, Padovano said it is still inhabitable. The homeowners will be working with the power company to get their electrical line put back up and their insurance company, Padovano said. When the power line was cut, it did not knock out power to surrounding neighborhoods.