The Cedar Grove Fire Department, along with detective bureau personnel, and the the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office are still trying to determine the cause of an early-morning fire that left an elderly Cedar Grove resident hospitalized.
Police received a call from a neighbor at 5:14 a.m. Wednesday informing them of heavy smoke spewing from the Anderson Parkway home.
The homeowner, an 86-year old woman, had been asleep in her home and was awakened by “a loud bang,” police said. She fled the house and went to a neighbor to call 9-1-1 after seeing the smoke pouring from her house.
“At about (5:50 a.m.) I heard trucks going up the street and my son Byron saw smoke coming from the house,” said neighbor Nora Paredes, who lives a few houses down on Anderson Parkway. “The street was filled with trucks from the fire department, police department and trucks from all different fire departments.”
Police officers saw heavy smoke escaping the home when they arrived, Cedar Grove Police Chief Richard Vanderstreet said, but officers were unable to get into the home.
The Fire Department put out the fire located in the basement at 5:41 a.m., he said.
“Basement fires are typically difficult to control due to limited access and egress to the fire area,” said Cedar Grove Fire Chief Michael Tower. “However, Cedar Grove firefighters were able to hold the fire to the area of origin.”
The Cedar Grove Fire Department was assisted by North Caldwell, Little Falls, and Bloomfield Fire Departments at the scene while Montclair, Caldwell and Verona Fire Departments provided coverage, said Tower.
The victim, who complained of shortness of breath, was taken to Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, police said.
An Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Task Force official on the scene said the fire was not suspicious in origin and that it seemed to be an “accidental fire,” he said.
Cedar Grove Police later confirmed that the fire is not considered suspicious.
"At the present time the exact cause of the fire is undetermined,” police said Wednesday afternoon. “The victim’s residence sustained considerable, fire, smoke and water damage and is presently uninhabitable.”