Man Jumps As Flames Engulf Red Bank Home

March 30, 2017
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Numerous fire departments from neighboring Two River towns supported a structure fire on the West Side of Red Bank Thursday afternoon. Photo by Jay Cook

By John Burton |

RED BANK — Firefighters on Thursday afternoon battled a blaze that engulfed a West Side residence.

Borough fire companies responded to a call that came in at approximately 3:09 p.m. reporting a fire at 16 Leonard St. That call indicated there was an individual trapped inside the structure, said Police Capt. Michael Clay.

Clay said that as of 4 p.m., there was a report of one injury from a male in the home and trapped on the second floor. His injuries were not deemed life threatening and the victim was transported to an area hospital for observation, Clay said.

Neighbor Jake Rademacher alerted his neighbor to the fire. Photo by Jay Cook

Jake Rademacher, whose Bridge Avenue backyard abuts the Leonard Street property, said he was taking out the trash and smelled smoke. “And then I heard a big ‘whuump’ and saw the flames start shooting out of the building.”

Rademacher said the flames quickly grew and spread through the two-story building with an attic. “And I then saw him in the second story window,” Rademacher said of the victim. “I told him to jump because you ain’t got a choice.”

Fire Marshal Stanley Sickels, who was on the scene, said the fire moved quickly in the older home. “It was moving up through the walls into the attic,” he said, as firefighters continued on Thursday afternoon to quell the still visible flames that appeared to have destroyed the home.

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Sickels wouldn’t speculate at this time as to the fire’s origin or cause. “We’re still gathering statements, getting information for the ongoing investigation,” he said.

Borough fire companies received support from Middletown’s River Plaza fire company and from Sea Bright and Fire Haven departments.

According to borough tax records, the home is owned by William and Shirley Sharkey.

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