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Fire at Gould Place, Caldwell, Brings Out Mutual Aid

By CAROLYNE VOLPE CURLEY

January 23, 2014 at 3:07 PM


Updated at 11:22 p.m. Thursday
The Caldwell Fire Chief has contributed comments to this article; there should most likely be no further updates. 

CALDWELL, NJ - At 2:37 p.m. Thursday, the Caldwell Police responded to 12 Gould Place, Caldwell to investigate a report of a smoke condition.


Credit: Debbie Condit


Credit: Elena Cypriana

It would take hours for the situation to be resolved and the combined effort of many fire departments from the surrounding towns. Exacerbating the problem, the temperature in Caldwell during this time period dropped from 19° to 10° with a wind chill as low as 6°.

"Fire operations were hindered by overhead wires and exposure to sub-zero temperatures," commented Caldwell Fire Chief Gary Garamella Thursday evening. 


12 Gould Place, Caldwell.  Credit: Google Maps 


Credit: Tammy Garland

The police arrived to find a a working house fire and immediately alerted the Caldwell Fire Department to respond. 

Credit: Sandra Martins

Officers began evacuating the residents at 12 Gould and as a precaution evacuated those who dwell at number 10 and number 14 Gould as well. The fire department were soon able to determine the smoke was originating from a second floor fire which had made its way to the third floor as well. 

Credit: John Foley

Fire was also threatening to destroy the adjacent structures as well. 
Credit: John Foley

Due to the intense nature of the fire, mutual aid was requested from the surrounding towns including Cedar GroveEssex FellsFairfield, LivingstonNorth CaldwellOrange, Roseland, West Caldwell and West Orange. In addition, the West Essex First Aid Squad, the Essex County EMS Rehab bus, Newark Bell and Siren along with the Caldwell DPW, all came out to the scene to assist.  


Credit: TAP reader


Credit: John Foley


Credit: Melanie Koserowski

Traffic on Bloomfield Avenue was snarled as fire commands set up their posts. 


Credit: John Foley


Credit: Patricia Zywicki Difilippo

Throughout the afternoon, flames were seen coming out through the roof. Brookside Avenue and Bloomfield Avenue in the vicinity were closed. The Red Cross were at the scene to assist the families. 


Credit: Melanie Koserowski


Credit: Melanie Koserowski

The fire continued to be active up until about 8 p.m. and firefighters reported that, at times, their equipment would freeze up. 

Credit: Mark Wells

According to Garamella, firefighters were able to contain the fire to the original building. The adjacent homes, however, suffered exposure damage.


Credit: Rob Johns


Credit: Rob Johns


The temperature was so cold that the water froze along the sides of the building.  


Credit: John Foley


Credit: John Foley


The fire crews continued to work to put out the blaze over the course of five hours, fighting the fire from outside the house with the hoses pointed high into the air while fire crews worked in baskets directly over the roof after venting the third floor ceiling. 


Credit: John Foley


Credit: John Foley


Credit: John Foley

The fire was brought under control by about 7 p.m. and all of the mutual aid engine companies were released by 9:15 p.m. Caldwell remained at the scene until morning to continue monitoring the situation and work on hot spots in the main house. No injuries to first responders or residents have been reported at this time.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 


Caldwell Firefighter Ray Sullivan Jr. Credit: Mike Feith