A Pleasantville man got himself and his young son out of their burning home Tuesday morning.
The man was awoken by either smoke or his 5-year-old son coughing, and ran to the boy’s bedroom, Fire Chief Steve Wilkins said.
An off-duty Atlantic County sheriff’s officer was driving by and called the fire in at 9:18 a.m.
The father broke out a second-floor window and was able to hand his son down to a couple who were driving by, according to witnesses.
The two-story, wood-frame home on Linden Avenue was already fully engulfed when firefighters arrived two minutes after the call came in, Wilkins said.
Capt. Neal Loch was able to kick in the back door.
Firefighters rescued two dogs inside, who were taken in for treatment.
“I thought it was a pig at first,” said Firefighter Eric Moran, who pulled out one of the dogs.
Capt. Tom Higgins rescued the other one.
There were three dogs in a pen in the back yard, with food and water. They were checked by animal control, who found it was OK to leave them there, Wilkins said.
The man, whose name has not yet been released, was at a neighbor’s home when firefighters got there. He told them that he has two daughters but he wasn’t sure if they were inside or were at school.
A check revealed they were not in the home, and they were located safe at school, Wilkins said.
The father was intubated on the way to the hospital, the chief said. The child was also taken in.
It was under control by 10:09 a.m.
“The Pleasantville Fire Department did a great job of knocking this down,” said Public Adjuster Thomas Lacovara, a retired Atlantic City firefighter.
The firefighters were able to keep the house next door from major damage, he said, pointing to slight bubbling in the vinyl siding.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.