Atlantic City firefighters quickly contain fast-moving blaze

Atlantic City firefighters were able to contain a fast-moving blaze to one floor of a home Wednesday night.
Firefighters were called to the 800 block of North Massachusetts Avenue at 10:10 p.m., and arrived to find heavy smoke and flames visible from a block away, Fire Chief Scott Evans said.
Engine 1 was first on the scene, followed by Engine 7, he said.
The fire was contained to the third floor — which is the master bedroom — thanks to the quick actions, Evans said.
A candle in the bedroom is believed to have started the fire.
Patty Curran said she lights a candle every night, says a prayer and blows it out. But on Wednesday, the wind shifted and blew a pillow case over the flame. The fire then moved quickly.
“It happened so fast,” she said.

Injured in a boat explosion more than 35 years ago, Curran said she has “a healthy fear of fire,” and she and Tony Cappuccio quickly evacuated.
Although the fire was contained to the third floor, the first floor was lost to water damage, Curran said.
She lauded the work of the firefighters, many of whom she knows. They allowed her in to get clothes for the night, and even wrapped up some of her artwork in plastic and put it in the one dry room to save it.
“I’m so thankful for what they did,” Curran said. “It was really incredible. They did an amazing job.”

Photos by Frank Becktel

The aggressive actions of the firefighters helped save surrounding homes, Evans said.
“This was an extraordinary job by the first arriving companies,” he said.
The quickly deployment of the hose streams and protecting the interior stair case to keep the fire from spreading was critical, he added.
While Curran is still in shock from the loss, she said she has been overwhelmed by the offerings of help, including friends who have empty homes where they have offered to let the couple.
One home near their business, Boardwalk Design and Development, is likely where they will be staying, she said.
“All the neighbors offered to help,” Curran said.
She even got a text from a woman who owns a salon at Resorts who heard Curran’s hair got burned in the fire.
“She just texted and offered to do my hair and makeup, and anything to make me feel better,” Curran said. “I thought that was really sweet.”
Curran said she loved the home she has been in for about 3½ years.
Evans estimated the damage at a minimum of $75,000.
Engine 7, the second engine company that responded to the fire, was closed earlier in the day, due to a manpower shortage.
“This could have been the difference between life and death,” said Firefighter John Varallo Jr., president of the city’s fire union.
The firefighters had been in a battle with the Chris Christie administration and its insistence in cutting the department’s ranks. But that is on hold now after Gov. Phil Murphy took over.
“This could have been the difference between life and death,” Varallo said. “Even though we are badly wounded, my members still risk everything to provide the residents with the services they certainly deserve.”