Maplewood Police and Fire Towns

Fire Damages Garden Academy School on Parker

A fire at a private school on Parker Avenue in Maplewood caused damage to some classrooms but no injuries on Monday, according to Maplewood Fire Chief Michael Dingelstedt.

An administrator at the Garden Academy at 276 Parker Ave. reported smoke in the building to the Maplewood Fire Department at around 5:30 p.m. on July 21 and activated fire alarms in the building, said Dingelstedt.

Maplewood Fire Department Engine 32, commanded by Captain Kevin Hayes, arrived on the scene within two minutes. Hayes reported a working fire with smoke and flames coming from a classroom window in the area of a window-mounted air conditioner.

Dingelstedt said that, as per protocol, fire units from Irvington, South Orange and Millburn fire departments were dispatched to the scene for assistance, with Maplewood Deputy Chief Walter Nugent in command on the scene.

“As firefighters began an aggressive interior attack which enabled them to contain the fire to one room,” Dingelstedt reported, “others searched to confirm that all occupants were out of the building.”

The Chief said that fire damage was limited to one classroom, with smoke and water damage in the adjacent corridor and classrooms.

“Due to the quick response and aggressive fire attack, firefighters were successful in preventing the fire from getting into the ceiling area and running the length of the building,” said Dingelstedt.

The South Orange Rescue Squad provided EMS assistance at the scene, although no injuries were reported.

Irvington, Orange and Union fire departments provided coverage for Maplewood until all local units were back in service.

On its website, Garden Academy is described as “a best practices center for the treatment of autism.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Maplewood Fire Department Fire Investigation Team.

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