WILDWOOD – At approximately 4:20 a.m. Aug. 24, a woman alerted Wildwood Police Department Uniformed Patrol Division officers who were on foot patrol in the area of Lincoln and Pacific Avenue of a fire at the former Colleen’s Restaurant, located at 222 E. Schellenger Ave.
According to a Wildwood Fire Department release, Wildwood Police Department Communications immediately dispatched Squad Co. 3 and North Wildwood Fire Department’s Ladder Co. 2. Arriving Wildwood Police Department officers quickly confirmed a working fire at the location.
Upon arrival, Squad Co. 3, under the command of Capt. Matthew Johnson, found smoke showing from the vacant two-story restaurant. A first-alarm assignment was requested, which recalls off-duty city firefighters and brings additional resources from the Wildwood Crest, Rio Grande and Stone Harbor fire departments.
Squad Co.3 conducted an aggressive interior attack and quickly confined the fire to the area of origin, while Ladder Co.2 laddered the building and conducted primary searches of the building.
Due to the quick knockdown of the fire, the incident was scaled back and held with Squad Co. 3, Ladder Co. 2, and Quint Co. 3.
The woman who reported the fire was determined to be homeless and squatting inside of the vacant building at the time of the fire. She suffered smoke inhalation and was transported to Cape Regional Medical Center, in Court House, by Wildwood Crest Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
There were no other injuries during the fire, and searches of the building proved negative for any other occupants. The fire remains under investigation by the Cape May County Fire Marshal’s Office, Wildwood Police Department Detective Division, and the Wildwood City Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit.
Fire units operated on the scene for approximately two hours.
This building was the site of a previous fire that occurred in August 2019.