Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Somerville Chief of Police Dennis Manning announced an ongoing investigation into a residential fatal fire on Eastern Avenue, Somerville.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that on Friday, December 10, 2021, at approximately 2:10 a.m. Somerville Fire Department and Somerville Police responded to multiple 9-1-1 calls reporting a residential fire on Eastern Avenue, Somerville.
Responding Somerville Officers, upon arriving at the scene, encountered residents outside of the structure which were fully involved with fire.
The three residents, which consisted of two adults and one child, had injuries due to the fire and escape.
Officers were informed that a second child was still trapped inside of the residence on the second floor within a rear bedroom. Responding officers made every attempt to gain entry into the home but were unsuccessful due to the fire, extreme heat and heavy smoke conditions.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that the Assistant Fire Chief from Somerville Fire arrived on the scene and attempted to gain entry and make the rescue.
He was met by heavy fire, which inhibited his rescue attempts.
Somerville Engine 3 and Somerville Truck 1 were the first arriving apparatus and immediately attacked the fire from the rear of the structure.
Somerville Fire Fighters, along with the Assistant Somerville Fire Chief, pushed through the fire, gaining access to the second floor in an attempt to make the rescue. Firefighters recovered the trapped eight-year-old female victim who was unresponsively recovered and removed her from the burning structure.
The eight-year-old child was pronounced deceased at the scene.
Prosecutor Robertson stated the two adults, female age 41 and male age 31, along with a nine-year-old female child, were all transported to an area hospital for their injuries sustained which consisted of burns and cuts from escaping the fire.
The two adults are in stable condition.
The nine-year child has been transported to a burn trauma center in critical but stable condition.
The New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene and performed a post mortem examination on the eight-year-old decedent to determine the cause and manner of death.
The fire was a two-alarm fire. Fire companies from Somerville Fire, Raritan Fire, Finderne Fire, Bound Brook Fire, Manville Fire, Green Knoll Fire, and Somerset Fire all were activated and responded to the scene.
Numerous other fire companies were requested on standby status.
First Aid Rescue Squads from Somerville, Green Knoll, Bradley Gardens, Finderne, Branchburg and Robert Wood Johnson ALS and BLS responded to the scene to render emergency aid and transport victims. Somerset County Communication Center, along with Somerset County Fire and EMS Coordinators, assisted command and operations.
Prosecutor Robertson stated that detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crimes Unit along with Somerville Police, the Somerset County Fire Investigation Unit, Somerville Fire Marshal and Fire Officials from Somerville conducted the fire investigation.
A cause and origin has not been determined by investigators as the investigation is ongoing.
A preliminary investigation has determined that the two adults and the nine-year-old were able to escape the fire from their respective second-floor bedroom windows.
Attempts to reach the eight-year-old who was located in a separate rear bedroom on the second floor were unsuccessful due to the extreme and fast-moving fire.