Residents escape safely from Wyndmoor fire


Staff Writer

EAST BRUNSWICK – A fire that swept through several apartments on Civic Center Drive early Sunday morning has left dozens of residents homeless.

The 2:45 a.m. blaze completely destroyed at least one apartment in the Wyndmoor complex, but four other units were rendered uninhabitable due to smoke and water damage, according to Fire Chief Jim Varick of East Brunswick District 2, which was the main responder. Some of the other units were also damaged.

No one was seriously injured by the fire, and all residents were promptly evacuated from the 20 apartments in Building 16.

Varick said Tuesday that a cause had not yet been determined. The fire started in a second-floor apartment occupied by one man in Building 16. Varick was not certain of the resident’s age. The man was forced to escape by climbing out a bedroom window because the fire was blocking the doorway.

The man was already outside when firefighters arrived, Varick said.

Many of the residents whose apartments were damaged or destroyed are now receiving assistance from the American Red Cross and the East Brunswick Office of Emergency Management, Varick said.

Mayor William Neary said Monday that he was glad everyone was able to get out safely despite the magnitude of the fire. Speaking during the Township Council meeting, he mentioned the extensive damage done to the building, which is across from the municipal complex, and noted that state Sen. Barbara Buono (D-18) is working to get housing for those who were displaced.

“I’m glad nobody got hurt, but it was a serious fire,” Neary said.

All three township fire districts worked to extinguish the flames, which shot through the roof of the building. The Milltown and New Brunswick fire departments also gave mutual aid.

Varick said it took about one hour to get the fire under control. Firefighters cleared the scene about 8 a.m.

The chief said all firefighters involved did an “outstanding job.”

In addition to the five apartment units heavily damaged, several others were damaged during extension and overhaul activities, which include investigating a building to look for more fire and providing ventilation.

In addition to the buildings being damaged or destroyed, residents lost many of their possessions, Varick said.