LITTLE SILVER: FIRE AT AZALEA COURT HOME

ls azalea fire 112115 5 ls azalea fire 112115 4Volunteer firefighters from Little Silver and nearby towns were on the scene of a house fire at 19 Azalea Court in Little Silver Saturday night.

The occupants of the house, at the northern end of Sickels Park, were said to have evacuated safely. As of 9:15 p.m., firefighters had cut at least one hole in the home’s roof, as seen at right. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BURNED BREAKFAST

rb fire 112215 4rb fire 112215 1A reported structure fire with an entrapped resident at the recently opened West Side Lofts luxury apartments in Red Bank turned out to be an unattended frying pan (seen at right) left on an active stove early Saturday morning.

Volunteer firefighters  responded to the 6:08 a.m. alarm and aired out the second-floor unit after retrieving its lone occupant, who appeared uninjured. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT, RUMSON: SEEKING TOYS FOR TOTS

sbfd toys for tots 2015With an eye toward Christmas, volunteers in Sea Bright and Rumson are planning “toys for tots” drives in coming weeks.

Picking up an effort previously spearheaded by the borough police, the Sea Bright volunteer fire and first aid squads have scheduled a toy drive for Wednesday, December 2, Fire Chief Walter Olenhaus of Sea Bright Fire & Rescue tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: SMALL FIRE EMPTIES SCHOOL


rbps fire 111715The fire occurred in a transformer room, officials said. Below, the affected transformer. 
(Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rbps transformer 111715Students at the Red Bank Primary School got a real-life lesson in responding to fire alarms Tuesday when a small transformer fire prompted an evacuation.

No injuries occurred during the incident, in which accumulated dust atop a transformer appeared to cause a wire to burn, Deputy Fire Chief Pete DeFazio told redbankgreen.

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CHURN: FAST GREEK AND EASY WEDDINGS

lyristis bros 111615Brothers George, Charlie and Taso Lyristis plan to open Greek Eats on the Shrewsbury side of Newman Springs Road Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallIn this edition of Retail Churn:

• Three brothers with a long track record as linen-napkin restaurateurs open a fast-food eatery rooted in their Greek heritage Tuesday.

• A wedding planning business that has its roots in a flower shop throws off a new shoot in Red Bank.

• A ginormous pharmacy chain opens a controversial store here.

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RUMSON: BLITHEWALD RAZED

76 buena vista 081815rumson fire 042015 2Five months after a devastating fire, the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald was demolished Monday.

The 132-year-old home, on Buena Vista Avenue, was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea when it burned down in April. Investigators ruled the cause of the blaze accidental. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: FIRE DESTROYS BACKYARD PLAY SET

rumson fire 072815Rumson firefighters, slowed somewhat by a Cat construction vehicle parked in the driveway, quickly doused a fire that fully engulfed a custom-designed wooden play set in the backyard of a newly completed home at 10 Sailers Way Tuesday evening, Fire Chief Kevin McCarthy tells redbankgreen.

The cause of the blaze could not be determined but is not considered suspicious, he said. Monmouth County property records indicate the home is owned by Anthony Diaco. Rumson, Oceanic and Fair Haven volunteers responded to the 6:49 p.m. alarm, McCarthy said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BACK IN THE ARMS OF SAMARITANS

bucky moran 052615Bucky Moran at home earlier this week. Below, Moran gets a hug from one of his saviors, Paramedic Lori Corson. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bucky moran 052715The last thing Richard ‘Bucky’ Moran remembers prior to his heart attack  last month was asking a motorist to move his car from the City Centre Shopping Center in Red Bank, where he works part-time.

So he knew nothing of the Edison Township fireman who, while driving by, saw Moran crash to the pavement and pulled over to start doing CPR. He didn’t know about the Red Bank policeman who happened to be coming out of a store at the mall, and had a defibrillator in his patrol car. He was unaware of the deputy fire chief who also pulled over and contributed the CPR effort, during which Moran was revived but “coded” again at least three times. And he’s a complete blank about the EMTs and paramedics who intubated him and blasted him with twice the standard amount of juice to get his ticker working again.

But on Wednesday night, the retired mail carrier and current school crossing guard got to meet, and hug, many of his Good Samaritans, at a packed-room meeting of the borough council.

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LITTLE SILVER: FIRE DAMAGES HOME

lsfd 051415The fire as it appeared on arrival by borough volunteers, above, and from the same angle about 35 minutes later, below. (Photo above by Chief Peter Giblin, below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ls fire 051415 3Fire caused extensive damage to a Little Silver home late Thursday night.

Volunteer firefighters answered the 10:59 p.m. alarm to find the exterior deck and rear first floor of the house at 3 Laurie Drive “fully engulfed,” fire Chief Pete Giblin told redbankgreen.

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RUMSON: BLITHEWALD GARDEN IN PHOTOS

rumson blithewald 1 rumson blithewald 3The April 20 fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald, which was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase in the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser, occurred the same morning that landscapers had put the finishing touches on a yard design called the Secret Garden.

Red Bank-based Siciliano Landscape, which oversaw the project with a landscaper from Marlboro, has posted a gallery of before-and-after photos of the garden, along with a link for those wishing to donate to the VNA. The now-canceled home tour was to be the nonprofit organization’s largest fundraising event of the year. (Photos courtesy of Siciliano Landscape. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: FIRE RULED AN ACCIDENT

rumson fire 042015 3Monday’s fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald appears to have been accidental, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office.

Spokesman Charlie Webster told redbankgreen on Thursday that investigators believe the fire began in a wall between a guest room and an en-suite bathroom on the second floor. But they were unable to determine if a live electrical circuit or equipment was the cause, he said.

At the time of the fire, Blithewald, on Buena Vista Avenue, was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser fundraiser, which was to have begun Saturday but has now been cancelled. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: FIREFIGHTER’S VIEW OF BLAZE

Here’s a Sea Bright firefighter’s view, courtesy of a helmet-mounted camera, of Monday’s fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald.

A message on the Sea Bright Fire Rescue Facebook page says this about the footage:

“We feel that releasing this film will not only give the public insight on what we do but will allow our brothers and sisters of the service an opportunity to better both themselves and ourselves in the future. The members made multiple attempts to try and gain control of the fire with an interior attack but were subsequently driven back. Please excuse some of the language as the guys were in the heat of the moment.”

 

RUMSON: ‘TOUGH SPOTS’ MADE FIRE DAUNTING

RUMSON FIRE 042115 2Blithewald as seen Tuesday morning. An area of the roof between two dormers showed heavy damaged, as seen below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RUMSON FIRE 042115 1The fire that caused extensive to a 132-year-old Rumson mansion Monday proved a challenge to volunteer firefighters, some of whom were on the scene nearly seven hours, Chief Kevin McCarthy tells redbankgreen.

“It’s a big, older house, so there’s lots of tough spots to get into,” said McCarthy. “It took a while to get it all mopped up.”

There was no official word on a possible cause of the blaze. McCarthy referred questions to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office, where a spokesman said information was not immediately available Tuesday morning.

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RUMSON: FIRE RIPS SHOWCASE MANSION

rumson fire 042015 2rumson fire 042015 1Fire caused extensive damage Monday afternoon to a Rumson home slated as the showcase for the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser.

No one was injured in the four-alarm blaze at 76 Buena Vista Avenue, an 1880s-era mansion known as Blithewald. As of 3:30 p.m., three hours after the fire was reported, smoke could still be seen rising through the roof, which had gaping holes in it. There was no immediate official word on a possible cause.

“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said a heartbroken VNA volunteer who asked not to be named, standing outside the Blithewald gate.

The fire is the second tragedy in recent years to strike the VNA event. In 2013, a van shuttling tour participants hit a dumptruck in Rumson, causing at least one serious injury. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

CHURN: SHREWSBURY TO GET FAST GREEK EATS

89 ns rd 033015Greek Eats has signed to take the corner space, at right above, at the three-store 89 Newman Springs Road, now under construction. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508For about five years, Red Bank restaurateur George Lyristis has been developing an idea for a casual fast-food restaurant based on his ethnic heritage, he tells redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

Well, the time has come to make the concept real, he says. With the sale of their Zoe Bistro in Little Silver, effective Wednesday, Lyristis and his brothers Charlie and Taso are planning to open a new place called Greek Eats in Shrewsbury in coming months.

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RED BANK: BURNED HOME TO BE REPLACED

23 madison planrb fire 102214 1Five months after she was awakened by a smoke alarm and escaped to see her house go up in a ball of flame, a Red Bank woman won approval to replace the structure Thursday night. 

Designed by architect Ron Grammer, Joan Raymond’s new Craftsman-style house on Madison Avenue retains the original footprint. The plan met no opposition at the zoning board hearing.

A mother of three grown children who was alone at the time of fire, Raymond was unharmed, but lost her cat to the blaze, the cause of which was never definitively determined. She hopes to be in her new home by Christmas, she told redbankgreen. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: BLAZE DAMAGES HOME

RB fire 031915 2The fire did heavy damage to the house at 93 River Street. The roof at the rear corner of 95 River, at right above and left below, also briefly caught fire. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RB fire 031915 1No one was injured as Red Bank volunteer firefighters quickly knocked down a blaze that had tongues of flame shooting out of two sides of a house Thursday morning.

The occupants of the home at 93 River Street, between Shrewsbury and Leighton Avenues were not present when police on patrol noticed smoke and called in the fire at around 11:15, said police Chief Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK: JCP&L DISPUTES ‘EXPLOSION’ CLAIM

rb fire 010415 1A series of eruptions displaced a manhole cover and bricks outside Red Bank Catholic, above. Below, JCP&L workers on making repairs in the “handhole” early Monday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb explosion 010515 1Were there explosions on Broad Street in Red Bank on Sunday?

Yes, according to eyewitnesses. No, according to a JCP&L spokesman – and the sidewalks downtown are as safe as ever.

Through spokesman Ron Morano, the electrical utility on Monday disputed claims that its equipment had exploded up to four times outside the St. James Church/Red Bank Catholic High complex, as reported on redbankgreen and elsewhere.

The claim that there were no explosions surprised police Chief Darren McConnell, who said he saw two himself as he stood in the cordoned-off stretch of Broad Street shortly after 3 p.m.

“I don’t know what they’re defining as an explosion,” McConnell said. “I saw what happened, and what happened looked an awful lot like an explosion to me.”

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RED BANK: ARE SIDEWALKS SAFE?

The explosions occurred in two transformer pits outside Red Bank Catholic High and St. James Church Sunday afternoon.  (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Red Bank officials are scheduled to meet Monday with power company representatives to determine what caused Sunday’s electrical equipment explosions on Broad Street, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

Also on the table, he said, is the question of whether JCP&L’s underground equipment, which runs the length of Broad Street downtown, is safe, he said.

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RED BANK: POWER BACK ON AFTER EXPLOSIONS

rb explosion 010515 2A JCP&L crew working outside RBC at about 4:35 Monday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Utility workers restored electrical power to downtown Red Bank Sunday night following a series of underground transformer explosions that sent manhole covers and bricks flying at mid-afternoon.

No one was reported injured in the blasts, which occurred in two curbside service pits located about 100 feet apart outside the Red Bank Catholic High School/Saint James Church complex on Broad Street, with the first of four explosions reported at about 3:06 p.m.

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RED BANK: EXPLOSIONS ROCK BROAD STREET

rb fire 010415 2Smoke billows from one of two manholes on Broad Street Sunday afternoon. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb fire 010415 1A series of explosions in underground electrical boxes rocked Broad Street in Red Bank Sunday afternoon.

No injuries were reported as the eruptions, in front of the St. James Church/Red Bank Catholic High School complex, sent steel covers and bricks flying from two manholes shortly after 3 p.m.

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SEA BRIGHT: FIRE DESTROYS APARTMENTS

sb fire 120714 1The blaze caused significant water damage to Seabreeze Wines & Spirits on the ground floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sb fire 120714 2A resident escaped safely and volunteer firefighters suffered a few cuts and scratches as fire destroyed several apartments above a Sea Bright liquor store late Sunday night.

Firefighters responded to the alarm shortly before 11 p.m. to find “full-blown fire out the windows” of the second floor, fire Chief Joe Eskridge tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: LAUTERWASSER TO BE FD CHIEF

rbfd chiefs 120214 1Chief-elect Joe Lauterwasser, right arrives at the First Aid building Tuesday night with his prospective first deputy, Chris Soden, left, and second deputy Pete DeFazio, center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03If there’s one constant that defines the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department, it’s family.

That was evident on Tuesday night, when the 143-year-old department’s annual election night celebration was dominated by names and faces that would have been familiar to attendees generations ago.

“We’re based on tradition,” said ex-chief George Lauterwasser (2002) as he awaited the arrival of the chief-elect, his 30-year-old son, Joe, at the First Aid building on Spring Street with dozens of other volunteers. “We keep it up with the kids. We’re old school.”

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MIDDLETOWN: ONE DEAD IN CRASH AND FIRE

[Update, November 11, 2014: Middletown police have identified the victim as Walter Burke, 43 from the Hillside section of the township.]

By JOHN T. WARD

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2-2014One person died in a single-vehicle crash on Navesink River Road in Middletown early Sunday morning, police said.

The vehicle caught fire in the accident, which occurred at about 3:18 a.m. along the 700 block of the road, said Detective Lieutenant Stephen Dollinger, spokesman for the township police department.

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