1 critical after house fire

July 23, 2009 8:11:06 PM PDT
Joseph Rucci of Deptford Township suffered critical burns in a fire in his home. He remains in critical condition at Cooper Medical Center's trauma unit in Camden.Deptford police received a 911 call reporting the fire from Joseph Rucci's stepson at 6:00 p.m. The stepson called from a neighbor's home where he and a girlfriend had fled from the Rucci home. Joseph Rucci's wife was not at home at the time of the fire.

Township firefighters responding to the Rucci's home confined the fire to the bedroom where Joseph Rucci, who is a quadriplegic, lay injured in bed. Mr. Rucci was said to be a heavy smoker and cigarette butts and ash trays were found around the bed. He was transported to Cooper Hospital by ambulance.

Because of evidence of smoking, the fire is believed to be accidental. The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office's arson and explosion unit, the Deptford and Gloucester County fire marshals and the Deptford Police Department are investigating.

A firefighter and two township police officers who responded to the fire were treated for smoke inhalation.