The Cranford Fire Department responded to a fire at 12 Crescent Place Friday afternoon. Upon arrival, the CFD found flames coming from the front windows and door. The fire took about 45 minutes to extinguish. Cranford Fire Chief Leonard R. Dolan stated that the fire extended to the attic through the picture window at the front of the house.
"It is believed the fire started in the living room," Dolan said. "The cause of the fire is under investigation, though we don't think it's suspicious."
Homeowner John Castellano was injured, but appeared to be in good health. Neighbor Valerie Toy said that Castellano attempted to enter his home through the front door. Toy pulled him away as flames came through the front door. Castellano was transported by Union County Emergency Services to a hospital for further testing. His wife Anne was visiting family in Freehold at the time.
The 9-1-1 call was placed by Matt Schrier, a neighbor who saw the flames coming from the front of the house.
"I heard glass breaking, it sounded like someone was beating it with a hammer," he said.
"We smelled smoke, and we saw [Schrier's] mom yelling, 'Call 9-1-1, it's a fire," Adam Weiner, who was with Schrier at the time, said.
Homes in the surrounding area were evacuated after ensuring all windows and doors were closed to minimize smoke damage. 12 Crescent Place was deemed uninhabitable, having suffered severe heat and smoke damage. The living room and attic also suffered heavy fire damage. A Cranford firefighter suffered a shoulder strain during the blaze and was transported to the hospital for testing.
Units from Westfield, Linden, Union, Roselle and Elizabeth responded to the call.
Update 5:15 p.m.
The fire at 12 Crescent Place has been extinguished.
The Cranford Fire Department is working to extinguish a blaze at 12 Crescent Place that has injured the homeowner who is suffering from burns, according to fire officials on the scene.
The victim's name would not be released at this time. The home contains a large hole in the roof and the front facade is charred. The cause of the fire is unclear.
Roselle, Linden, Westfield and Union Fire Departments have also responded to the scene and are assisting.
Those who live nearby said the smoke could be smelled about a quarter mile away.