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UPDATE: Massive Berkeley Brush Fire Nearly…

Chief: Park Ave. House Fire Began in Basement

No injuries as five departments respond to blaze.

A two-alarm house fire Friday afternoon drew fire departments from four communities and closed Park Avenue from Ridegdale Avenue to Elm Street.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which broke out in the basement of Tracee and Joe Palmer at at 64 Park Avenue at about 1 p.m., Fire Chief Lou DeRosa said.

Madison responded with four trucks and a dozen firefighters, along with ambulances, police and personnel from Public Works. Thirty firefighters from Cedar Knolls, Chatham Township, Florham Park and Morris Township were on the scene, along with police and ambulance personnel.

One occupant, who called in the emergency was home at the time, DeRosa said.

He said firefighters encountered a lot of fire, heat and smoke, and broke through the basement ceiling and first-floor walls to ensure that the fire had not spread.  It appeared to have originated in the laundry area of the basement, DeRosa said.

"It was burning good, the smoke was trying to push out the back door," DeRosa said. "We went to two alarms on it."

Firefighters used water-based foam to fight the flames, and brought the fire under control in 30 minutes, DeRosa said.

Smoke ejectors were set up at the front and back of the house to ventilate the interior of the structure. The house won't be livable for some time, DeRosa said.

The Palmers operate home beauty business from their home.

Park Avenue was re-opened about 4:20 p.m.

DeRosa said the fire did not appear to be suspicious, although he did not speculate on the cause. An investigation is ongoing.

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