As firefighters arrived, an electrical line lay sparking in the driveway to the left of the burning house. (Video and photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


rb fire 102214 2A smoke alarm awoke a Red Bank woman shortly before fire engulfed her house early Wednesday morning.

Joan Raymond, of 23 Madison Avenue, said the smoke alarm, intoning a prerecorded “fire,” went off shortly after midnight, and she went downstairs to find her front porch in flames. She exited through the back door.

rb fire 102214 3The scene after the fire was brought under control. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Volunteer firefighters arrived at about 12:25 a.m. to find the front of the house fully engaged, with a live electrical line sparking in a driveway to the left and Raymond’s Mercedes in a ball of fire on the right, just inches from the porch.

There was no immediate word on a possible cause of the fire. Firefighters said the power line appeared to have come down as a result of the blaze. Neighbors reported having smelled faint smoke as early as 9:30 p.m.

As firefighters were arriving, a series of small explosions was heard from the area of Raymond’s car.

Raymond’s injured cat was found by firefighters and taken to a local vet, where it died.

Fire Chief Tommy Welsh, whose day job is borough fire marshal, said he and other inspectors will give Raymond’s car and the front porch of the house a close inspection Wednesday in an attempt to determine the cause of the fire.

Firefighters cleared the scene at 4 a.m.