TARGETING WASPS, OWNER SETS HOUSE AFIRE

south-st-house-fireSmoke pours from the gable end of the attic at 96 South Street. Below, homeowner Peter Chan with borough Fire Marshal Stanley Sickels. (Click to enlarge)

chanA smoky fire damaged a Red Bank residence Monday night after the homeowner tried to burn an insect nest, authorities said.

The fire, at 96 South, was reported at about 9:45 p.m., and appeared to be out by about 10:20.

Only the homeowner, Peter Chan, was home at the time. No injuries were reported, though one firefighter was reported to have been stung by a wasp.

According to officials on the scene, the fire was ignited when Chan used a burning, gasoline-soaked rag wrapped around a stick in an effort to incinerate a  wasp’s nest that was attached to eaves above a projecting porch.

Volunteer Red Bank firefighters, backstopped by their counterparts from Fair Haven and Fort Monmouth, cut two holes through the east-facing roof to relieve intense heat that built up from the blaze, which was confined to the attic.

Water damage from the firefighting effort was extensive, authorities said.