LITTLE SILVER: BLAZE DESTROYS CONDO UNIT

The scene at 156 Birch Avenue around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A fire that first became apparent as flames shooting from around an outdoor light fixture destroyed at least one Little Silver condo unit Monday afternoon.

Volunteer firefighters train water onto the burning residence, above, and cut a ventilation hole in the roof of an attached unit several doors away(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

No one was injured as five or more occupants of two adjoining units escaped, neighbor George Wittenberg told redbankgreen.

Wittenberg said he was outside his rental unit, at the cul-de-sac north end of Birch Avenue, at about 3:30 p.m. when he smelled smoke and saw flames around a light fixture above the garage door at 156 Birch, an end unit.

He called in the blaze and knocked on the unit’s door to alert the occupants. Three or four people emerged, he said. At least two left the adjoining unit, at 158 Birch, he said.

An official account of the incident was not immediately available.

The fire destroyed number 156, with nothing left of the roof and only some charred framing visible on the second floor.

Residual smoke could be seen emanating from the peaks of dormers on adjoining units, and firefighters using power saws climbed the steep roof to cut at least one ventilation at the opposite end of the building.

The fire occurred on what was believed to be the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures in the mid-90s.

Volunteer firefighters and EMTs from Little Silver, Red Bank, Shrewsbury, Tinton Falls, Oceanport were among those responding.