UNION BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities say that a Monmouth County firefighter has been killed fighting a fire at a commercial building in Union Beach.
Monmouth Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Charles Webster says that the Union Beach Fire Department firefighter was killed in the blaze Sunday evening. The firefighter’s name wasn’t being released, pending an autopsy and the notification of his next of kin.
The firefighter, a 54-year-old volunteer with the Union Hose Fire Company, collapsed outside of the building, according to investigators.
There were no immediate reports of other injuries.
Witnesses said that the fire was likely fueled by chemicals inside of the building, CBS 2’s Don Champion reported.
The loss of the firefighter has dealt a painful blow to the tiny community. Neighbors ran to the scene after seeing smoke around 6 p.m.
“An hour went by and the flames got worse and the flames got bigger. It was so bad that you could feel the heat off of the flames,” neighbor Peri Trambley said.
The fire started inside of a building that housed a hydraulics company, investigators said.
It took crews more than two hours to get the flames under control.
“It was pretty scary. Luckily the wind was blowing in the same direction. It wasn’t blowing in all different directions. They were able to keep it contained in one way,” neighbor Terry Tomasko said.
Webster says firefighters are still battling hotspots in the building. No cause or origin of the fire was immediately available.
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