DRAMATIC FIRE RESCUE RECOUNTED

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Today’s Asbury Park Press has a breathtaking recap of how Sea Bright firefighters rescued Debra Yuhasz from the Fountains Condominiums fire early Monday morning.

The 47-year-old woman was lying unconscious on the balcony of her second-floor unit when Capt. Joseph Eskridge reached her via aerial ladder.

From the story:

Eskridge said he found himself staring into an inferno, with Yuhasz’s condo fully engulfed. The wind was whipping so strongly from in front of him that there was actually no smoke, which Eskridge said is an indicator of “a fire with very heavy flames. . . . It was like a broiler oven.”

Through the sliding glass doors on the balcony into Yuhasz’s living room, Eskridge could see only a roaring fire.

Press staff writers James A. Quirk and Michelle Sahn do a nice job of conveying a sense of what a terrifying moment Eskridge and his fellow firefighters faced.

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FIRE VICTIM IN CRITICAL CONDITION

The badly burned victim of yesterday’s spectacular Sea Bright fire was identified as 47-year-old Debra Yuhasz.

Today’s Press reports that she’s in critical but stable condition at the St. Barnabas Burn Center in Livingston.

At least 15 units at the Fountains Condominium complex at 1340 Ocean Avenue were destroyed in the fire, which tore through a 32-unit building of the two-building complex fueled by Arctic winds that covered firefighters and their equipment in ice. Some 16 families were displaced.

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INJURED WOMAN AIRLIFTED; FIRE UNDER CONTROL

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The Press is reporting the fire at the Fountains Condominiums complex is largely under control and that an unidentified woman who was badly burned was airlifted by helicopter to the St. Barnabas Burn Center in Livingston.

The fire was reported at about 5:30a at the complex, which is on Ocean Avenue opposite Water’s Edge and the Kara Homes project.

Frigid temperatures and high winds hampered the battle by firefighters, who responded from across a wide swath of Monmouth County. Two firemen were treated for injuries, including one who burned his ears rescusing the injured woman, the Press reports.

The Press also has video from the scene, in which Fire Chief Pat Mason tells an interviewer that 34 or 35 of the building’s 62 units were either destroyed or damaged.

Some residents of the complex were evacuated to Borough Hall, where the Red Cross was providing aid.

‘WOMAN FULLY ENGULFED IN FLAMES’

The Asbury Park Press reports that a fire at the Fountains Condominium Complex on 1340 Ocean Avenue continues to burn.

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From an update posted at 9:39a:

SEA BRIGHT — A fire at 1340 Ocean Ave., at the Fountains Condominium Complex, continues to burn as firefighters and emergency workers are battling fire, winds and frigid temperatures.

“The wind is making it difficult getting the fire under control,” said Councilwoman Dina Long, who was at the scene and in contact with fire officials.

At least one person was critically burned, witnesses said. The fire was reported about 6 a.m.

Winds off the river and sheets of ice on the roadway are hampering efforts to battle the blaze.

Long said about six to eight units are burning. The fire was reported after neighbors heard screams this morning and looked out to see a woman fully engulfed in flames on her balcony, witnesses said.

The Fountains Condominium Complex is a multi-unit high-end real estate property on the Shrewsbury River.

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BOROUGH MAN INJURED IN FIRE

An explosion and fire in a hunting trailer in Upper Freehold injured a Red Bank man over the weekend, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

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Raymond Mass was in critical condition Sunday at Helene Fuld Medical Center in Trenton, with burns to his hands, knees and 10 percent of his face, the Press reported, citing a State Police official.

A second man, from Monroe, and a 13-year-old boy whom the Press did not identify were also injured in the Saturday morning incident, but were treated and released from a hospital. A third man declined treatment.

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H2O PRESSURE FIX IN THE PIPELINE

Some apparent misperceptions about a house fire in Fair Haven last summer have, ironically, jump-started efforts to correct a problem that’s existed for decades: inadequate water pressure in the western part of the borough and in easternmost Red Bank.

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And the onus for the fix in both towns is on Red Bank, which supplies water to 170 properties in Fair Haven through mains that in some cases are more than a century old and half the diameter they should be, according to Red Bank’s Administrator, Stanley Sickels.

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WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

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Last week’s ‘Where,’ we figured, was an easy one. And, in fact, several readers wrote in to correctly identify the image: a fire hydrant wrapped in black plastic on River Road in Fair Haven, near the corner of Lincoln Avenue.

Congrats are in order, by the way, to Susan McLaughlin, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty, for being the first.

What we did not expect though, was this intriguing reply late yesterday from blogging Fair Haven Mayor-elect Michael Halfacre to our inquiry as to why the hydrant appears to be in mourning:

The wrapping is due to a lack of water pressure to those hydrants from the Red Bank water utility. Our FD chose to wrap them, as they are not up to snuff for fighting fires.

The lack of water pressure to the Fair Haven homes served by RB water is an ongoing problem. We are attempting to address it now. (You may read b/t the lines here.)

Uh-oh.

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HOUSE FIRE

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Smoke pours from a house that was extensively damaged by fire on South Pearl Street late Monday afternoon.

Firefighters quickly brought the blaze under control.

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TWO AREA MEN DIE IN AZ. CRASH

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Two men originally from Lincroft and Tinton Falls were among three killed in a fiery crash in Arizona over the Labor Day weekend, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Dead are Gene Charles Bailey, 26, originally of Tinton Falls; Ryan John Daly, 25, of Lincroft, and Ryan Higgins, 26.

Stephan Schrankel, 26, originally from Tinton Falls, was reported comatose and hospitalized in critical condition.

All four men lived in Pacific Beach, Calif. The identities of two of the the dead were determined by a check of dental records.

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NAVESINK WOMAN DIES IN FIRE

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A 78-year-old Navesink woman was found dead yesterday morning in her Osborne Avenue house following a fire.

Dorothea F. Brooks was already dead as a result of burns when firefighters arrived at the scene of the 11a blaze, Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin told the Asbury Park Press. A neighbor had tried dousing the fire with a garden hose.

The fire is under investigation but does not appear suspicious, authorities told the Press.

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