Unable to Escape Apartment Fire, Father Drops Son to First Responders Before Jumping Out of Window to Safety

Body camera video from sergeant shows the moment firefighters and police yell “drop the baby” to the Dad in the fire filled apartment.

March 7, 2022

SOUTH BRUNSWICK TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX)–South Brunswick Police reported that at 8:17 a.m. on Monday March 7, 2022 the Monmouth Junction Fire Department was dispatched to Building 1 in the South Ridge Woods apartment complex for a reported structure fire. Within minutes, multiple 9-1-1 calls were received reporting a working fire. Firefighters and police officers arrived to find heavy fire in the rear of the building coming from the second and third floor balconies and starting to spread up the outside of the building into the attic space. Building residents were reporting people still inside the 24-unit building, with the common hallway rapidly filling with smoke. Within minutes, a father and son appeared at a second floor window, unable to escape their apartment. The father broke out the window and dropped his son to first responders below, before jumping out the window himself.
 
Firefighters entered the building to perform primary searches but were forced to exit due to the heavy fire conditions in the rear of the building. The rapidly spreading fire caused the third floor rear balcony and a section of the roof to collapse. Master streams from three aerial fire trucks were used to extinguish the fire.
 
“This was a total team effort to extinguish this fire and ensure all occupants were able to escape,” according to Monmouth Junction Fire Chief Scott Smith. “We were faced with extremely heavy fire conditions immediately on arrival, along with reports of people still inside. Fortunately, all of the occupants were able to escape the fire. If this fire was earlier in the morning when people may have still been asleep, the outcome could have easily been tragic.”
 
Approximately 50 firefighters from Monmouth Junction, Kingston, Kendall Park, Plainsboro, Jamesburg, Monroe, Brookview and North Brunswick #2 responded to the 3-alarm blaze. Firefighters from Old Bridge, Montgomery and Griggstown covered the South Brunswick fire stations during the incident.
 
The fire is under investigation by the South Brunswick Township Fire Safety Bureau. The building is currently uninhabitable until a determination can be made as to whether any of the apartments can be re-occupied. The Red Cross responded to assist those residents displaced by the fire.