A three-alarm fire that began in the kitchen area of a home on Barchester Way in Westfield was extinguished after three hours of work by several Union County Fire Departments on Saturday.
According to neighbors, the fire began in the kitchen microwave around 1:30 p.m. Two boys, ages 14 and nine, were home at the time but ran out of the house to safety.
"When we first arrived we had confirmation that two children were lost inside," said Westfield Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Buccino. "We began as a search and rescue operation, but once we learned the children were out and safe we switched to suppression. The fire began in the kitchen area and moved laterally across the top of the house."
The fire required three ladders and six pumpers, according to Buccino. Most of the second floor of the home and roof was destroyed.
Neighbors lined the streets as the fire raged. "We saw a little bit of smoke and one pumper and then 20 minutes later the whole thing went up," said neighbor Jeff Mazzola. "Thank god the boys are okay. They did the right thing and ran out of the house and down the block and called 911."
Neighbors say the boys' mother was not home at the time and did not know that the boys had safely exited until she arrived to the blaze. According to neighbors, the home was under contract to be sold and the family was set to move at the end of the school year.
Around 3:40 p.m the fire was knocked down and crews slowly began to be dismissed from the scene. Union County Fire provided command and crews from Westfield, Cranford, Clark, Rahway, Roselle, Linden, Kenilworth, Union, Elizabeth, Scotch Plains and Fanwood were on hand. The Westfield and Springfield First Aid squads were also at the scene providing water and oxygen to firefighters.
Reid Edles, president of the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad, was on the scene "from beginning to end."
"Shortly after 1:30 p.m. today the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad was dispatched to a fire on Barchester Way," Edles explained. "Upon arrival EMS Branch was established and two additional Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad ambulances were dispatched to the scene including a total of nine Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad members. Union County OEM/EMS was on scene and a rehab tent and operation was set up. Springfield First Aid Squad responded with their rehab ambulance. Scotch Plains Rescue Squad responded to the scene to assist with manpower. Mountainside Rescue Squad responded to Wesfield Rescue Squad Headquarters on Watterson Street to cover any calls in Westfield while the Westfield Rescue Squad ambulances were at the fire scene."
Edles confirmed that the Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad transported one firefighter from a mutual aid fire company to the hospital.