No injuries have been reported in a Galloway Township house fire Saturday that displaced a family and prompted neighbors to help evacuate the home.

George Perkins Jr., assistant chief of the Oceanville Volunteer Fire Company, said the blaze, began about 11:15 a.m. and was contained within a half-hour.

Firefighters continued to work Saturday afternoon to extinguish hot embers. The garage was demolished and a large section of the attached house was gutted by the flames. A vehicle in the driveway was damaged.

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Neighbors said the blaze started in the garage and quickly spread to the rest of the house off Manning Court in Galloway's Smithville section.

Chad Brooks, 42, said he initially heard what he thought were burning tree limbs. He said one family member was on the lawn and another was inside, trying to save the family pets, including a bird named Chilli.

“I and (another neighbor) ran inside and got the man,” he said. “I can't believe how fast it went up.”

The family and their pets were evacuated safely, Brooks said.

Debbie Ciuba, 50, said she was alerted to the fire by her barking dog.

“Then I heard sirens, and that's not normal for around here,” she said.

After seeing other neighbors helping the family, Ciuba prepared to evacuate herself. Her home is just next door to the burned-out house.

“I was worried,” she said. “It spread to the roof so fast and with all the trees here...”

Family members, who watched the firefighters work from a neighbor's driveway, declined to comment.

Perkins said the fire is under investigation.

Contact Wallace McKelvey:


@wjmckelvey on Twitter

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