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House Fire on Hazelwood Burns Female, Two Escape

Toms River fire under control at 4:51 a.m. Tuesday

Update 3 p.m.: This article was updated from the original with information from the Police Chief.

A morning fire left one Toms River resident hospitalized for burns, while two other occupants escaped, from a home burning on Hazelwood Road in East Dover this morning.

The two-story home near Cattus Island Boulevard burned from the second story rear corner of the house, where a woman was breathing with the assistance of an oxygen tank, said East Dover firefighter Doug Foley, who lives across the street.

"I live right across the street so I came right out...I heard it on dispatch. I ran outside and saw her coming out, screaming. I went in to see where the fire was, gave a report right away," Foley said. "There was heavy smoke...It started from the rear corner."

Foley said his neighbor was ill and using oxygen in the home. The woman was transported to Ocean Medical Center Hospital in Brick for burns, he said. Two other residents escaped without injury, including the victim's husband.

Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said an 18 year old occupant found smoke in the home and discovered her mother was asleep after smoking.

"Danielle Luster 18 reported she was in her bedroom went she smelled smoke and alerted her mother and assisted her out of the home," Mastronardy said in an email.  "Her mother, Debra Luster, 54, was apparently smoking on a couch when she fell asleep and was transported to Brick Hospital for treatment for burns of her arms and hands."

Just before 6 a.m., a firefighter from Station 28 was transported to Community Medical Center.

"There was a medical concern, we just wanted to get him checked out," said East Dover Fire Chief Robert Abrams. The firefighter's name was not released but the condition appeared to be heat exhaustion.

The fire was knocked down and under control at 4:51 a.m., said Abrams.

Two hose lines attacked the flames, Foley said. A ladder truck put firefighters on the roof to ventilate the fire.

"It got up into the attic, so we wanted to make sure it didn't spread, and we ventilated the side window," Foley said.

One hose line went to the rear to douse the fire, while another went through the front door to knock down the flames.

"We had a crew, a ladder to the roof, to open the roof up to ventilate," Abrams said.

Visible smoke and the search for hot spots continued through 5:26 a.m., as fire companies went into overhaul. About 50 firefighters contributed to the response from six trucks, said Abrams.

East Dover and Silverton were the first arriving trucks with Toms River Fire Co. No. 2 serving as the FAST team, who assists if firefighters require rescue.

District 1 Fire Chief John Lightbody described the fire as quickly attacked with multiple hose lines.

"Initial attack lines, consisting of two  1 3/4" hose lines were immediately deployed. The first hose line was directed by Chief Lightbody to the rear of the structure to blitz attack the fire by knocking down all visible fire through the sliding glass door, and windows from the exterior. Simultaneously a second hand line was directed to enter the structure through the front main entrance to suppress the remainder of the fire after the initial knockdown," Lightbody said in an email.

Ladder 2865 of Station 28 addressed the roof of the home, Lighbody said. They "next arrived and supplied water to the fire using public water supply from the fire hydrant and also accessed the roof system in order to ventilate over top of the fire," he said.

The fire was contained in the home, with no nearby trees or wires affected, Abrams said.

The presence of oxygen tanks in the home was a factor in the response, said Abrams.

"There was oxygen in the house, which makes it unique," Abrams said. "We have to worry about that."

Catherine Galioto (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM
The story was updated with info about a firefighter's transport to Community Medical Center.
1stcav July 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Sad ,but I hope all recover quickly , a house fire IS very scary and takes a toll on all involved ...God's speed in your healing.
. July 10, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I live a few blocks away from where this fire happened. I hope everyone is okay. Fire is a terrible thing. You have to be so careful with oxygen.
So Much to Say July 10, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Wishing a speedy recovery to the victims!
Jak July 10, 2012 at 05:02 PM
APP.com didnt say anything about oxygen, it only said she fell asleep while smoking. So which is correct?
. July 10, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Actually, both are correct. There was smoking with oxygen in the room. A very bad combination.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) July 10, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Hello, the police chief has released some information that says the victim was smoking, and I'm adding that to the story now, along with some other details. The fire chief confirmed the home contained oxygen tanks.
. July 10, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Thanks for the update.
BeachGirl319 July 12, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Best wishes for a quick recovery for all. Nice work by all firefighters, fire departments & emergency responders, thank you.

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