Garwood firefighters with the help of other local crews extinguished a three-alarm blaze in a two-family home on Second Street Saturday morning.
The fire broke out around 4 a.m. and wasn't fully extinguished until around 6 a.m. The family who owns the building, their two daughters, their tenant and their two dogs were unharmed, reports family friend Denise Chmiel. Chmiel says only the husband and tenant were home when the fire broke out.
According to Garwood Fire Chief Michael Tharaldsen the fire began at the stove on the first floor due to unattended cooking.
"When we first arrived there were flames coming out of the side of the house on the second floor, going up to the roof," Tharaldsen told Patch on Sunday. "The fire had spread through the first and second floor, and we attempted a very aggressive interior attack. We were able to knock down the fire on the first floor and partially on the second floor but the fire kept moving around. We pulled everybody out and used an exterior attack for about 10 minutes before we could get back in and get the fire under control around 6 a.m. I feel very bad for the families who have been displaced by this and wish them luck with what they’re going through."
Fire crews from Cranford, Westfield, Rahway, Clark, Fanwood, Scotch Plains, Roselle Park, Kenilworth and Berkeley Heights were also called to the scene.
The family is currently staying at a local hotel and the building has been condemned.
Denise Chmiel is now collecting donations for the family. The girls, ages 11 and 6, attend Lincoln School and are girls sizes 14-16 (or women's medium) and 6 slim. Their shoe sizes are 8.5 and 1-2 youth. Chmiel is collecting gift cards for their parents.
Clark's Bistro 1051 will also donate 15 percent of their tabs on Thursday, Feb. 28. "Our thoughts go out to family and this a small way we could help," Bistro owner Michael Savvis told Patch.
Teresa Tammaro Coghan, a relative of the tenant, Lorenzo Scipioni, is also collecting donations and helping her cousin look for an apartment in the area. She asks that anyone interested in donating or anyone who knows of an apartment available to email her at TessTm@aol.com