Collingswood F.D. Assists in Monday Morning Fire on Elgin Ave

A teen awakened by the blaze saved his Haddon Township home with sound safety techniques and a quick response from local fire companies.

Thanks to some quick thinking and an equally quick response from local fire companies, an early morning fire on Elgin Avenue in Haddon Township was contained quickly with no injuries.

Westmont Fire Company No. 1 was on the scene "almost immediately," said homeowner Sharon Berkowitz, assisted by fire companies from and Audubon.

Things were under control in 11 minutes, said Haddon Township Fire Chief John Medes.

“The engine companies split crews,” he said, “two in the trucks and two inside.”

Although this fire was able to be knocked down quickly, Medes said, the mutual aid response from Collingswood was available in the event things had gotten out of hand.

“Any time we have a job with smoke showing, their engine responds right away and vice versa,” Medes said.

Berkowitz, who’s lived in the home 19 years, says the fire totaled her upstairs bathroom and seriously damaged her hallway, which just had been freshly painted. In fact, Berkowitz said her painter had noted yesterday that they’d better get the smoke alarms back up.

“We hadn’t gotten to it,” she said.

The only one home this morning was her son, Dave, 19, who kept the fire controlled by blocking the door with a towel while he placed the 911 call.

Dave was even psyching himself up to “take a window exit” from his second-floor bedroom, Medes said, when the ladder truck and a police escort helped pull him down.

“He did a great job,” Medes said. “Fire preparedness pays.”

Berkowitz said that on the exterior, her home suffered a broken window and her garden was trampled. Inside, however, the third-floor converted bedroom and the other bedrooms on the second floor suffered smoke damage.

“They told us we can’t stay here,” she said.

“The most important thing is my son is alive.”


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