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Woman, Dog Rescued from Madison Structure Fire

'Things got pretty bad pretty quick,' fire chief said of blaze that ripped through multi-family building.

One person was hospitalized after being rescued from the second floor of a multi-family home on Park Avenue Saturday morning, according to Bob Landrigan, Office of Emergency Management coordinator.

Madison Fire Chief Lou DeRosa said the cause of the fire, which was reported just after 9 a.m., is still under investigation, but officials believe the blaze began in the basement. The building, which DeRosa said houses four apartment units, is uninhabitable after the first two floors and part of the roof collapsed just after 11 a.m.

Three people were inside the building when the call of the fire came in, Landrigan said. A woman, whose identity has not been released, was trapped on the second floor and rescued by firefighters from the burning structure, Landrigan said. 

DeRosa said firefighters initially focused their efforts in the basement, where they had believed another person may have been trapped. 

"Things got pretty bad pretty quick from that point forward," DeRosa said. "The fire really kind of grew inside."

Once they learned no one was trapped in the basement, the firefighters made their way to the second floor, where they found the woman "in a corner, curled up with the dog," DeRosa said. DeRosa said the woman was conscious but was coughing.

Though no firefighters were injured, DeRosa said they were faced with challenges as they navigated through the burning building and still tried to maintain safety for themselves.

"The fire, we couldn't get in front of it fast enough," he said.

Luis Pinzon, who lives on the first floor of the three-apartment structure, said he smelled smoke and called 911. He and his wife were in the kitchen at the time.

"Everything I had is gone," Pinzon said. "My papers, my keys, everything. I have nothing now."

The building, on the corner of Loveland Street and Park Avenue, had become a shell of a structure as it was engulfed by flames. DeRosa said the building was an old structure, formerly a storefront grocery store.

"It was just a stubborn fire in a very old structure," he said.

Madison Electric turned off power to some areas of the borough due to the house fire, police said in a Nixle alert. Power will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so, police said, and there is no need to report a power outage. Gas and water services were also shut off, DeRosa said.

Firefighters remained on the scene until about 6 p.m. Information is still being gathered and officials are planning to re-enter the building on Monday to attempt to determine the cause of the fire.

The Florham Park, Chatham Township, Chatham Borough, Morristown and Morris Township fire departments were among the neighboring responders on the scene.

Ariana Sheehan contributed to this story.

Melanie Tomaszewski November 18, 2012 at 03:34 PM
The Chiarlanzio family will be compiling a list of the the families affected by the fire and contact information in the next day or so. they are in the mist of organizing a way for everyone to help with monetary donations, gift certificates and any other donations , furniture housewares etc. please check for updates and there will be something constructed on line. It's really amazing to live in such a caring town!
Lauren Rossi November 18, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Facebook is a great tool for getting the word out about what the families may need. Maybe start a page and encourage everyone to share it with friends. I have a laundry room full of donations to be brought to South Jersey but would have no problem donating them to local families. I can set up a facebook page if everyone agrees it might help to spread the word on donations.
Melanie Tomaszewski November 18, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Hey lauren and everyone else, one of the tenants already have a new place to live, but have nothing, please email me, lauren, u have my email, I own tivoli. Or message rachel chiarolanzio on facebook
Sonia Cadogan November 18, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I can't express enough kind words to our landlord, David Chiarolanzio, for his care and concern through this mess. He and his family are going above and beyond! He is a great landlord and his building was well kept. No stacking.... no greed here.... please get the facts straight before commenting. As for the Madison Police & Fire Departments (and neighboring town Firefighters as well), our town couldn't have asked for better!! Thanks to all who helped and those still helping and those that will help in the future!!! My daughter and I lived on the second floor for one year and we were very comfortable there. Small towns are under-rated. I <3 Madison!!!!!
Lauren Rossi November 19, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Melanie did you get my email yesterday?

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