Hot embers started fire that spread from carport to 2 Middletown houses, fire official says

Fire caused $42,000 in damages to structures, contents of Oxford State Road homes.

MIDDLETOWN — Hot embers from a fire pit caused a large fire Saturday evening in Middletown.

Fire personnel were dispatched at 6:12 p.m. to 1500 Oxford State Road on a report of an engulfed house with a possible explosion, though that was ruled out later, said Assistant Fire Chief Steve Ludwig.

Capt. Frank Baughman, the city’s fire marshal, said it was windy Saturday and embers from a fire pit caught a carport of fire and the fire spread to the house, then the heat from the fire melted the neighbor’s siding.

The fire caused $30,000 in damages to the property and $12,000 to the contents, accordingn to a Middletown Division of Fire report. Two cars parked under the carport also were damaged.

The siding on the house next door at 1504 Oxford State Road also sustained damage from the heat of the fire.

Middletown received mutual aid from Monroe and Trenton fire departments, according to the fire report. There were no injuries to firefighters or residents, the report said.

One resident, who told police he was looking for several cats inside the residence, was forced to leave by police, Baughman said. The six cats were rescued, he said.

At one time, there was a report that two occupants may be in the basement. Firefighters searched the area, but were unable to locate anybody, Baughman said.

A large smoke column was visible for miles, according to firefighters and residents.

The property owner told fire officials that someone who lives in the residence may have been burning leaves and “other combustibles in a burn pit near the rear of the structure,” according to the fire report.

The American Red Cross provided relief for the five adults who live in the residence, the report said.

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