On Friday, April 30, 2021, at approximately 12:20 p.m., Seaville Fire Rescue, along with automatic aid from Marmora Volunteer Fire Company, Tuckahoe Volunteer Fire Company, the Upper Township Division of EMS, and New Jersey State Police, responded to the unit block of Route 50, in the Seaville section of Upper Township, for a reported structure fire.
Seaville Fire personnel arrived in 1 minute 26 seconds and confirmed working structure fire in a multi-family, mixed-use building. It was immediately discovered that there was a significant fire in a second-floor rear apartment, as well as the shared roof system of the building.
Several occupants were trapped in the upstairs apartment. There were approximately 5 civilian bystanders on the scene actively attempting rescue efforts.
Seaville Fire personnel assisted these good samaritans in safely rescuing 4 children (ages 1 to 7) and one adult from the second-floor window of the involved apartment, due to the occupants’ primary and only means of egress being cut off by the fire. An additional occupant from a separate second-floor apartment was able to self-evacuate without injury.
The fire was upgraded to a second alarm upon discovery of the entrapment of multiple occupants, which brought additional resources from Ocean View Volunteer Fire Company, Dennisville Volunteer Fire Company, Ocean City Fire Department, and AtlantiCare Paramedics.
The fire was brought under control within 40 minutes. Crews remained on the scene for approximately 4 hours to assist investigators and extinguish the fire. One adult civilian victim was transported via helicopter to Temple University Hospital Burn Center and one firefighter was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries and released. The four young children were treated and released to a guardian by EMS on the scene.
“The civilian bystanders are to be commended for their collective quick-thinking and selflessness today." Fire Chief Steve Schaffer highlighted, "If not for their rapid and heroic action, this devastating event could have proved fatal for the five victims involved.”
The fire is being investigated by the Cape May County Fire Marshal’s Office, Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, and New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office. As of the time of this press release, an official cause determination has not been released.