Lightning strike causes fire at three-story SO apartment building

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — On Wednesday, July 31, at approximately 5 p.m., the South Orange Fire Department responded to a 9-1-1 call reporting of a structure fire at a three-story apartment house located at 174 E. South Orange Ave. 

According to a press release from the department, arriving fire department units found a working structure fire involving the rooftop and a third-floor apartment unit. An immediate fire attack and search-and-rescue mission was launched by all responding companies. 

One resident was removed from a second-floor apartment and turned over to the South Orange Rescue Squad for medical observation and assistance, and released at the scene.

Mutual aid was summoned from surrounding fire departments including Orange, Maplewood and Irvington. Fire units from East Orange and West Orange were assigned as cover departments at the South Orange Fire Headquarters during this incident. 

All companies worked to extinguish and overhaul hidden fire in the roof, ceilings and walls on the third floor of this large apartment house. The fire was declared under control at 5:43 p.m.

South Orange Fire Department fire investigators determined the cause of ignition and subsequent fire to be the result of a lightning strike on the roof, which transmitted into the roof framing and associated interior spaces on the third floor.