Child leaps into arms of two neighbors as blaze damages house
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
BY JEANETTE RUNDQUIST
An 11-year-old Old Bridge girl jumped from the roof of her home into the arms of neighbors yesterday, escaping a fire that extensively damaged her home.
There were no reported injuries in the fire on Emily Drive, according to police and fire officials, but the girl jumped about 10 feet to escape the flames and smoke gushing from the front windows of her home in the 6 p.m. blaze.
Neighbors Michael and Patricia Bonner were at home, baby-sitting their 2-year-old grandson, when Patricia Bonner said she heard cries of "Help" through an open window in the second floor of her home.
"I ran down the steps and ran outside and saw a girl sitting on the roof over the front door," she said.
The couple's 22-year-old son, Taylor, arrived in a car at the same time, and he and Michael Bonner told the frightened girl to jump and they would catch her. She jumped off the roof into the two men's arms, and all three fell to the ground.
"She was afraid, but she jumped, and they caught her. Her dog was still in there, she tried to run into the house and grab the dog; my son had to wrestle her," Patricia Bonner said.
The family dog, Spike, died in the fire, according to neighbors and fire officials.
Fire Marshal Tom Hart said the girl, Angelica Hochschild, was in her second-floor bedroom when she heard the smoke alarm go off. She looked downstairs, saw smoke and climbed out onto a 4-foot-wide section of roof outside her window.
Angelica's mother, Bonnie, ar rived home from work shortly after the fire began, Hart said. Also living in the house was Ronald Kaplo witz; the residents were staying with family last night, the fire marshal said.
Police and fire officials were at the scene until about 11 last night. Hart, who said it is believed that the fire began in the kitchen area toward the rear of the house, said the blaze was believed to be acci dental, and that the cause is still under investigation....