Wildfire burns office buildings in New Jersey

Firefighter hospitalized, in critical condition

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Fire near Lakewood, NJ.
Fire near Lakewood, NJ.   Screenshot from Jersey Shore Fire Response video.

The Airport Fire near Lakewood, New Jersey burned two office buildings Sunday afternoon as strong winds helped spread a vegetation fire quickly across 170 acres about 12 miles north of Toms River.

The New Jersey Forest Fire Service (NFFS) said a firefighter is in critical condition at a nearby hospital. Channel 10 in Philadelphia reported the individual suffered a cardiac incident.

According to the NJFFS, the fire came close to homes, but none were “substantially damaged though some ancillary structures such as sheds were impacted.”

fire near Lakewood, NJ.
Firefighters unload a tractor plow at a fire near Lakewood, NJ. Screenshot from Jersey Shore Fire Response video.

The cause of the fire has not been released, but an escaped prescribed fire has been ruled out, in spite of inaccurate reports online indicating otherwise according to the NJFFS.

The fire was reported at about 1:30 p.m. near Lakewood Airport and was pushed by strong winds across the Garden State Parkway which had to be closed.

Fire near Lakewood, NJ.
Fire near Lakewood, NJ. Screenshot from Jersey Shore Fire Response video

Sunday afternoon a weather station west of the fire recorded 10 mph winds out of the west gusting at 20 to 35 mph while the relative humidity dropped to 16 percent. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the area until 5 p.m. Monday for 10 to 20 mph hour northwest winds with relative humidity in the teens.

About 100 residents were evacuated to a nearby elementary school but were allowed to return at 7 p.m.

At least one water dropping helicopter, a single engine air tanker, and a tractor plow can be seen in the video below.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom, Jim, and Rick.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

5 thoughts on “Wildfire burns office buildings in New Jersey”

  1. I by no means intend to speak ill of the injured firefighter but anecdotally there seems to be a disproportionately high number of injuries / accidents on fires in Region 9 per number of wildfires / acres burned. Does anyone know of any work done into analyzing accidents / per fire or know why that may be the case out there?

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  2. Ocean County NJ. If you mentioned WUI or defensible space to most residents they would look at you as if you just landed from Mars. They are in the thick of it. In most firehouses a brush truck sits along side of 100ft tower ladder. Ocean County NJ. If the hurricanes don’t get ya the fires in the pine barrens will

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