ALL OK AS FIRE GUTS RED BANK TWO-FAMILY

Firefighters found the blaze strongest at the northwest corner of the house, as seen from a neighboring backyard, above, and from Hudson Avenue, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two Red Bank families escaped safely as a predawn fire tore through a Hudson Avenue house Thursday.

One half of the structure, at 46-48 Hudson, was fully involved in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after 3 a.m., said fire Chief Josh Sanders.

Police patrol units, which were already there, reported that the occupants had escaped safely, he said.

Volunteer firefighters train water on the northwest corner, as seen from Clay Street. (Click to enlarge)

Four adults, two children and three dogs were in the house at the time of the fire, said one of the occupants, Ryan Howard, who was asleep in a second-floor bedroom when the fire broke out.

“I heard the kids next door screaming as they were running out of the house,” said Howard, who lived in the southern half of the two-story structure, at number 48. “Then I saw orange light.”

Ryan said he, his wife and their two dogs were easily able to exit. The couple next door, their two boys and a dog also exited safely, he said.

Firefighters described the blaze as one of the fastest-moving they’d seen in years, though they managed to largely confine it to the northern half the structure at number 46. Northwesterly winds pushed heavy smoke to the ground for blocks around.

The mid-block house is owned by Ray Rapcavage, who also owns several other rental properties on the street.