Police Capt. Eric Wilsusen announced in a statement Tuesday that residents Bill O'Hara and Kris Anderson were not at home when it caught fire apparently by accident late Monday morning, but their pets—two dogs, an iguana and a cat—were inside the house. The conflagration took about an hour and a half to extinguish. Fire crews on the scene came from both of Jefferson's fire departments and from Picatinny Arsenal, Mount Arlington and Dover crews. The Morris County Office of Emergency Management mobile ambulance bus were also present.
By the time fire fighters had knocked down the fire, the rear of the building was destroyed, Wilsusen said, and while the dogs and the iguana survived the fire, the cat was killed.
The damage makes it impossible for anyone to inhabit the house, the article said, nothing that Lake Shawnee-area neighbors are collecting funds to help the displaced residents via the website LakeShawneeHelp.com and fundraising site youcaring.com.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, $2,200 of the organizers' $2,500 goal had been raised.