Update: Newark House Fire Displaces Nine Residents, Two Dogs On Saturday

Just before 1:00 on Saturday, January 18, 2020, the Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder Company along with mutual aid companies were dispatched to the unit block of Gilbert Court in Whispering Pines Townhouses for a residential fire.

Crews arrived to find smoke showing from a two-story middle-of-the-row townhouse and a fire in the basement. With no exterior basement access, crews made an aggressive interior attack to search for victims and extinguish the fire, according to Aetna Deputy Chief Jeff Sands.

Sands said the fire extended to all three levels of the residence and the attic space. Additionally, the exterior of the residence sustained minor damage from flames and smoke. Thirty-five firefighters spent approximately three hours extinguishing the fire as well as performing salvage and overhaul.

State fire investigators, called to the scene, said the fire originated inside the basement and was caused by a malfunctioning clothes dryer, according to Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio. Chionchio said the occupants were alerted to the fire by smoke alarms inside the home. Investigators estimated that the fire caused $250,000 in damage.

There were no injuries reported, however, three adults, two children, and two dogs were displaced from the residence where the fire started. Four others, 2 adults and 2 children were also displaced from a neighboring home, all were assisted by the American Red Cross.

Christiana Fire, Minquas Fire Company #1, Mill Creek Fire Company, New Castle County Paramedics, New Castle County Police, Delmarva Power, SUEZ Water Delaware, responded to assist Aetna during this incident, said Sands.

Firefighters from Elsmere Fire Company No.1, Wilmington Manor Fire Company, and Cranston Heights Fire Company who covered Aetna’s district.

Chief Andrew Bowerson had Newark Command.

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