211-williamsburgThe fire was underway in the room at far left, said a neighbor who alerted the occupants. (Click to enlarge)


Three members of a Shrewsbury family safely escaped their burning home early Saturday morning after being awakened by a neighbor.

homeownerHomeowner Pete Pacifico with Fire Chief Jerzy Chojnacki after the blaze. (Click to enlarge)

Theresa Bakal, of Williamsburg Drive, said she awoke at about 4:30 to a “crackling” sound similar to that of a skateboard on pavement. Looking out her bedroom window, “I see flames” emerging from the roof of a one-story bumpout to the house across the street, at number 211, she told redbankgreen.

“I called the fire department and ran across the street and started banging on the door,” she said. The fire, she said, “was going pretty good.”

The startled homeowner, Pete Pacifico, came to the door unaware that his house was on fire, she said.

Pacifico, his wife, Kathy, and their 7-year-old son safely escaped the house. A second son was away from home for the night.

Pacifico, a retired New York City firefighter, ran to the back yard to turn a garden hose on the blaze while awaiting the arrival of Shrewsbury volunteer firefighting squad.

Firefighters using a ladder truck quickly brought the fire under control. It appeared to have done its worst to the bumpout, tearing through the roof.

An official account of the fire was not immediately available. Firefighters were still on the scene at 5:30 a.m.

Bakal was also once a volunteer firefighter, in Plantation, Florida, she said.