OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 68-year-old man was killed and his 89-year-old father was critically hurt in an early morning fire Tuesday in Old Bridge.
The blaze broke out around 1 a.m. at a home at 12 Judy Ct.
When firefighters arrived, flames were pouring out of the rear of the home and the elderly man was hanging out of a second-story window, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.
“It took me back when I saw him calling for help out his window,” neighbor James Birley told CBS2’s Erin Logan. “It made my heart sink.”
Birley said his neighbor of 14 years is an 89-year-old neighbor is a World War II veteran. Both firefighters and police officers helped rescue him with a neighbor’s ladder.
“There was a gentleman hanging out the front window, PD was trying to get him with a ladder, firefighters came up with a more suitable ladder and were able to pull the guy out of the window,” Fire Chief Bob Verney said.
The man was taken to the burn unit at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Verney said.
The elderly man’s son, Joseph Berna, 68, was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. His body was found by firefighters searching the first floor den area, Schuck reported.
“It’s sad,” Birley said. “It’s sad.”
Birley described the fire as “pretty bad.”
“Flames coming out the doors and windows, especially the front door, and a lot of smoke almost out of every window,” he said.
The elderly man’s son, Joseph Berna, was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said. His body was found by firefighters searching the first floor den area, Schuck reported.
“We did have loss of life, but we did have a rescue,” Mayor Owen Henry said. “Someone is alive because of our first responders taking; getting them out of the house. So yeah, it’s a tough day.”
Berna’s father, whose named has not been released, was taken to the burn unit at St. Barnabas Medical Center, where he is listed in critical but stable condition.
Authorities said the fire did not appear to be suspicious, but the cause was under investigation late Tuesday. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Curt Halas of the Old Bridge Police Department at (732) 721-5600, extension 3202, or Detective Nicholas Chiorello of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3848.