By Sophia Shiffman
The historic Wychwood South Gatehouse at 120 Wychwood Road caught fire Dec. 6; there was limited damage to the house itself and no firefighters were injured. No one was inside the house at the time of the fire and it is thought to be an accidental cause.
The firefighters received the initial call at 7:19 p.m. from a passerby who saw flames shooting out of the roof, according to Police Officer Jeffrey Johnson.
According to Deputy Fire Chief David Kelly, first responders from the Westfield Fire Department reported heavy fire showing from the first floor, second floor and through the roof of the building on the side facing East Broad Street.
“The fire started on the first floor in the area of an interior light switch for an exterior light on the side of the house facing East Broad Street,” said Kelly. He added that due to the house’s interior construction, the fire was able to pass through the floors and burst through the roof.
The three-alarm fire took approximately three hours to get under control from the time that the initial call was made to when the firefighters arrived, according to Johnson. The Westfield Fire Department, assisted by Union County Fire Mutual Aid, used two essential pieces of equipment, master streams and hard lines, to contain the main body of the fire prior to moving inside, according to Kelly.
There was “significant damage to the roof assembly of the entire house, heavy water damage to the entire house and moderate smoke damage to the entire house,” according to Kelly. However, damage did not spread to other properties.
According to nj.com, on the evening of the fire, the homeowner was arrested when she attempted to charge into the burning building, obstructing the firefighters’ mission.