A morning alarm for a smell of smoke turned into a structural fire at Water's Edge condominiums off Fischer Boulevard that left one family pet dead and evacuated neighbors.
Firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke billowing from the first-floor unit. The general alarm fire began at 8:28 a.m. and was under control at 9:02 a.m., said Silverton Fire Company Assistant Chief Gus Baxes.
Firefighters entered the building and were met with heavy smoke and high heat. The fire was located in the kitchen area and there was some fire extension to adjoining condominiums as well as smoke damage to other units.
Initial water supply to Engine 2911 was hampered when units tried to open a Fire Hydrant and found that it was dry, Baxes said. There was another available hydrant close by and the fire was under control at 9:02 a.m., with overhaul of the damage continuing past 10 a.m.
Toms River Police assisted, entering the building to knock on neighbors' doors to alert them of the emergency. Third-floor resident Suzanne Pavoni said she was unaware of the fire and realized something was wrong when she heard glass breaking.
The fire originated in the kitchen of the condo unit of Jeff and Heather Barbalinardo, who were not home at the time, working as teachers in the Toms River Regional Schools.
Jeff Barbalinardo said that they were ok and they have plenty of people around them for support. Their 2 year old child was at an aunt's home, he said.
The family's four cats were home and were rescued by firefighters but one cat died in the fire.
Fire Inspector Kevin Esposito and Detective James Magovern determined the fire originated in a malfunctioning dishwasher.
Original report, 9:45 a.m.:
Firefighters have knocked down a fire at a condominium on Waters Edge Drive.
The Silverton Fire Company 1 responded to a general alarm at 8:28 a.m. to find an unoccupied unit with a blaze originating in the kitchen, said Assistant Chief Gus Baxes.
Visible smoke was pouring out from the first-floor unit, and residents in six surrounding units had to be evacuated through heavy smoke.
However, no residents were harmed. Four cats in the first-floor unit were rescued, although one died in the fire.
The responding crews had the fire extinguished in minutes, Baxes said, although firefighters were still overhauling the structure as of 10:15 a.m.
There was no impact to traffic.
Fire Inspector Kevin Espositio is investigating the incident.