By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
The timing of Friday afternoon’s two-alarm house fire on Bank Street in Red Bank couldn’t have come at a more inconvenient time for James Green.
He was, um, on the commode.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Green, who has been staying with his friend at 13 Bank Street since May. “I’m in the bathroom, the alarm goes off and the house is burning down.”
No injuries were reported in the fire, Police Captain Darren McConnell said. Chief Alan Soden was unavailable to immediately comment on the possible cause or other details of the fire Friday afternoon.
Firefighters were on the scene of the fire at about 12:45p, and fought through windy conditions for more than a half-hour to extinguish the blaze. Gray smoke blanketed a section of Shrewsbury Avenue as firefighters beat back flames and dozens of spectators watched, many with cell phones in hand snapping pictures.
All Red Bank departments responded to the fire, and Tinton Falls Northside department was called in for help.
Traffic was shut down on Shrewsbury between River Street and Drs. James Parker Boulevard for more than an hour.
The department reported the fire out at 1:20p. Firefighters, including borough Administrator Stanley Sickels, struggled to extinguish the flames, which at one point were shooting through the roof.
“When I pulled up, that whole first floor was nothing but flames shooting out of the building,” said Carl Colmorgen, a volunteer responder. “When they cut through the roof, off it went. Those guys are lucky they got off that ladder, because the flames were shooting.”
By 1p, firefighters were tossing charred furniture out the second-story window onto the side lawn of the home, while other members hacked away the home’s burnt-black siding.
Just before responders arrived on scene, Dave Conway was driving into Red Bank from Shrewsbury. He runs a building company and said some of his employees live on Bank Street.
“I saw the black smoke from almost Marshalls [in Shrewsbury]” he said. “I pulled up and saw one of the guys, who was holding his two kids.”
He stood next to Green, whose camouflage jacket was partially burnt, looking on as flames shot out of the roof and smoke blew east over Shrewsbury Avenue.
“Jesus, man,” Conway said. “That thing’s cooking.”