UPPER TOWNSHIP — An unidentified construction worker helped rescue two victims trapped inside the apartment above a hair salon after the building caught fire Sunday, according to fire officials.
Marmora Volunteer Fire Chief Jay Newman said firefighters were dispatched after receiving multiple calls of a fire across the street from the Marmora Wawa on South Shore Road with possible occupants trapped on the second floor.
The Marmora Volunteer Fire Company and Upper Township Division of EMS were dispatched at 2:30 p.m. Seaville Fire and Rescue, Tuckahoe Fire Company and the Ocean City Fire Department were also called for assistance.
They arrived at the building, which contained both the Chop Shop hair salon and a residential apartment, to find heavy fire on both floors at the back of the building as well as fire in two cars parked there.
Before firefighters arrived on the scene, Newman said, a man, who has yet to be identified, placed a construction ladder up to the home to help the two people trapped inside. The stairs that provided the only way down from the top-floor apartment had burned away.
“We have to thank whoever that passerby is because whoever he is, he saved lives,” he said.
Firefighters put out the fire in less than an hour and searched both floors for any additional occupants. Crews extinguished any fires in exposed areas and remained on the scene monitoring hotspots until 6:30 p.m.
The Somers Point Fire Department provided coverage for Marmora, the Belleplain Fire Company for Tuckahoe and the Ocean View Fire Company for Seaville.
Newman said the building sustained severe damage, especially toward its back sections.
He thanked all responding companies for working to avoid more potential damage.
The Cape May County Fire Marshall’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire and State Police were on the scene.