LINDEN, NJ — At 7:23 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 15, the Linden Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 317 Helen St. Upon their arrival, the first responding fire companies found heavy smoke coming from the second floor and attic. The occupants and pets were exiting the structure and reported that everyone was out. Crews stretched hose lines into the structure and found fire in a second floor bedroom and the attic. Searches were conducted to ensure no one was still in the building. After extinguishing the fire, crews conducted overhaul operations to make sure the fire did not spread to other parts of the structure. Crews also took measures to protect the contents and property of the tenants.
The fire appears to have started in the area of the second middle bedroom and is under investigation by the Linden Fire Department’s Fire Investigation unit. The cold temperatures made operations difficult and may have played a role in the fire.
The second floor tenants reported that they were woken up by their dogs. They promptly called 9-1-1, alerted the other occupants and evacuated the building. This early notification was an important factor in fire crews being able to contain the fire quickly.
Deputy Chief George Kuhn described his platoon’s quick actions as a “good stop,” extinguishing the fire quickly and limiting the damage to the areas of origin.
There were no injuries to the tenants or to the firefighters. The five occupants were moved into the John T. Gregorio Center across the street. Mayor Derek Armstead visited the tenants at the Gregorio Center, which was closed for Presidents Day.
The Linden Police provided scene security and helped coordinate the response of the Red Cross to assist the tenants if necessary. Mutual Aid coverage was provided by the Elizabeth, Rahway and Roselle fire departments.