SO house fire results in fatality

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert Laurino, South Orange Fire Chief Daniel Sullivan and South Orange Police Chief Kyle Kroll announced that authorities are investigating a fatal fire that occurred in South Orange on Sunday, March 18, according to a press release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

At approximately 2:15 p.m., units from the South Orange Fire Department were dispatched to a report of a fire at a residence at 360 Warwick Ave. Arriving firefighters observed an active fire at this location. As firefighters entered the structure, they located an unresponsive male on the first floor of the single-family residence. He was removed from the house and transported to Saint Barnabas Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 3:24 p.m., according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly, of the Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit. The victim has been identified as the owner of the residence, Weyman W. Watson, 61. No one else was injured as a result of the fire.

“Interior and exterior fire conditions were controlled, suppressed and overhauled expeditiously, approximately 30 minutes total,” Sullivan told the News-Record on March 19. “Mutual aid from contiguous municipalities is typical in Essex County for substantial fire incidents.”

According to Sullivan, to combat this fire, South Orange firefighters received assistance from the fire departments in Livingston, Bloomfield, East Orange, West Orange, Orange, Irvington and Maplewood, as well as the ECPO’s Major Crimes Division and Fire Investigations Unit.

“The investigation into the origin and cause of the fire is ongoing,” Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly said in the release. This incident is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Crash and Fire Investigation Unit. As of press time, Fennelly told the News-Record that there was no new information to be released.