Jersey Shore home catches fire just after residents arrive

SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- A holiday weekend for several people has been ruined after a fire tore through their Jersey Shore home.

Flames were shooting from the home just before 11 p.m. Thursday on the 5600 block of Central Avenue in Sea Isle City, that belonged to 62-year-old Janice Pantano.

Officials said Pantano had just arrived for the weekend when her car caught fire in the driveway.

The flames quickly spread to the garage and then to her home and her neighbor's home.

It took firefighters about 40 minutes to get the fire under control. Sea Isle's police department said they got the call at 10:36 p.m. and had the fire under control at 11:18 p.m.

The home was destroyed, but there were no reports of injuries.

Pantano said she got to her home around 10:30 p.m., Thursday night when she noticed smoke coming out of the hood of her car, a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe. She said she went inside her home to call 911 but Pantano thought it took too long for the fire department to arrive.

"The cops come and I go where's the fire truck? And then another cop comes and I go where's the fire truck? And then ambulances come I go where's the fire truck? Twenty minutes later a fire truck shows up. At that time an entire car is engulfed in flames," said Pantano.

Police said their records show otherwise. Sea Isle's police department said two fire trucks arrived at the home 12 minutes after the 9-1-1 call came in and the first hydrant was opened about 16 minutes after the 9-1-1 call.

"In the moment it feels like it's 20 to 30 minutes but in reality, we had a truck on the scene in 12 minutes," said Thomas McQuillen.

The flames reached Kevin Brennan's home next door.

"My car was right up here next to hers. I moved my car out of the danger area," said Brennan.

Brennan said he wrote a sign outside the home for neighbors to see, that said the house burned for 20 minutes before water was applied. Brennan and Pantano said they want Sea Isle to have a full-time fire department so they can respond to calls faster.

"We're losing histories of Sea Isle," said Brennan.

Pantano said she's been vacationing in that home since she was seven years old. That's 55 years of memories she's built here.

"It could have been prevented, that's why I'm angry," said Pantano.

In the meantime, Pantano said she's staying with her sister who has a home down the shore. There's a city council meeting Tuesday where residents Action News spoke with said they'll be bringing up their concerns about the fire department's response times.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.