Sense Of 'Normalcy' Was Stripped Away Again, Tim Farrell Says

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A firefighter who lost his home to Hurricane Sandy responded to a call last week, only to find his own new home was on fire.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported Tuesday night, Seaside Heights firefighter Tim Farrell received the horrifying call last Thursday.

“The fire was rolling over our head,” he said.

Farrell walked CBS 2 through the charred condo he shares with his girlfriend.

There were “flames coming out the front door and the two side windows,” he said.

Farrell was responding to a call of a possible fire at a bait shop next door.

“Maybe a block away, I noticed that it wasn’t the bait shop. It was my own residence,” he said. “My heart dropped. It felt like Sandy all over again, but a hundred times worse.”

Farrell lost his home in Lavallette during the hurricane.

“It was one of those moments when you look and say, ‘You know, I can stop and see what I can salvage,’” Farrell said. “By that time, we had too many 911 calls coming in.”

In February, Farrell and his son, Nick, moved to his girlfriend’s home in Seaside Park.

“There was some sort of normalcy, finally, for myself and my family,” Farrell said.

But that all changed Thursday morning.

One very important thing Tim was able to save as the fire was burning was the family dog, who was located right inside a bedroom next to the flames.

“I called for her and didn’t get any response,” he said. “I did find her. She was very lethargic.”

The 7-year-old dog, Reese, suffered smoke inhalation.

“It would’ve been a complete loss if she had been gone,” said Nick Farrell.

Nick Farrell, 14, said he is grateful Reese was saved, but added there was one thing he is missing.

“Just a home again — just a home in general,” said Nick, who is in eighth grade. “I thought I would get back to normal, but I just have to go through it another six months again.”

But thanks to the kindness of the community, Farrell and his girlfriend and son are getting back on their feet – hopefully for the last time.

Residents have donated money and clothes. The family has also found another condo to move into.

The cause of the fire may have been an electrical problem in the microwave, which wasn’t even in use at the time.

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