Ocean County Residents Grateful To Return Home After Wild Fire - KMSP-TV

Ocean County Residents Grateful To Return Home After Wild Fire

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OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. - Homeowners that were forced to evacuate during the flames yesterday in Bayville NJ are now back home and amazed how closely they came to losing it all.

The melody of the wind chimes surrounded by acres are charred forest may be a sign of Eileen Penn’s sigh of relief.

“I couldn’t believe how close it came. It was still smoldering,” she recalls.

By late Thursday, the sky over the woods that surround Continental Avenue have grown ominous.

Eileen saw the smoke build up she quickly evacuated her neighborhood. Her husband stayed behind.

Eileen says, “he said [over the phone] ‘it is really bad here Eileen. You are not going to believe it. Do come home. Don’t come back.”

By mid-day today the Continental fire was contained.  As fire fighters hosed down hotspots, fire officials spoke of great respect.

The speed and intensity of the fire alarmed central NJ Fire Warden, John Rieth the most.

“It was a red flag warning yesterday National Weather Service issued that and the fire spread extremely fast and very erratic fire behavior,” explains Rieth.

When Eileen returned home she found the flames had been stopped just a few feet shy of her backyard shed and swimming pool. Thanks to a trench dug by firefighters. There was little a miss in the backyard to hint at the near disaster here.

“I am just grateful we have the house still,” says Eileen.

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