Rahway house fire kills one, but three escape

Photo by Brian Trusdell
A tarp and caution tape mark the house where 44-year-old Shonda Smith was killed in a fire in Rahway on the morning of Jan. 2.

RAHWAY, NJ — A 44-year-old woman was killed when a two-alarm blaze swept through her single-family home on the morning of Jan. 2, Rahway fire Chief Michael Roberts said.

Shonda Smith was found in her second-floor bedroom at 452 Washington St. after firefighters took nearly about an hour to extinguish the fire that had completely engulfed the both floors by the time they arrived. They received the first call about the fire at 6:10 a.m.

Three other members of the family —Smith’s son, mother and brother — all escaped unharmed after being awakened by smoke detectors in the house, Roberts said.

One firefighter and one police officer suffered minor injuries, Roberts said.
The origin and cause of the fire have not been determined and are under investigation by the Union County Arson Task Force, a common procedure in major fires.

About 50 firefighters from Rahway battled the blaze, along with mutual help from departments in Cranford, Roselle and Linden, Roberts said.