Family Dog Perishes in Early Morning Fire Friday
Residents on Harrison Ave. were awakened in the middle of the night to find their neighbors' home ablaze. From all external appearances, the house suffered significant damage.
A family dog was the lone victim of an early morning, two-alarm fire on Harrison Avenue Friday that Collingswood firefighters agreed was the most intense to strike the borough in 2012.
"The whole back of the house was on fire and there was fire coming out the first floor on the front" when firefighters arrived, said Lt. Geoffrey Joyce.
Joyce said the company was dispatched at 3:21 a.m., and arrived within four minutes to find a single-family home fully involved in the conflagration.
It took roughly over an hour to get things under control. The fire started in the back of the home, and was fed quickly by the prevailing winds, which blew hot embers into the night sky, according to eyewitnesses.
One nearby dwelling suffered broken windows from the radiant heat, Joyce said, but that was the extent of the damage to the rest of the neighborhood.
'They got out with nothing'
Neighbor Fred Herr said he was awakened to the sounds of "screaming and knocking on doors" around 3 a.m.
"I came running downstairs and [my neighbor] just yelled, 'Call 911, my house is on fire!'," Herr said.
"They got out with nothing," he said. "They were sleeping and that's it."
Patch met with the homeowners at the residence as their in-laws were helping retrieve some items from within the house on Friday. They declined to be interviewed. The family includes a mother, father and their two school-age daughters.
Collingswod Mayor James Maley who lives on the block, said calls have already swept in from friends and neighbors wanting to help.
"People were stopping by asking what sizes the girls were because they were going to buy winter coats," Maley said; "people who didn't even know them."
"We've just got to wait and see what the family's needs are, what makes the most sense," Maley said.
"It's just tragic," he said. "They lost their dog. We're just thankful that everybody is safe."
Collingswood F.D. was assisted at the scene by companies from Gloucester City, Westmont, Audubon and Bellmawr, Joyce said.
As a matter of procedure, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office will investigate to determine the cause of the incident.