VERNON — A homeowner was rescued unharmed from his residence in the Highland Lakes section of the township after his house caught fire late Monday morning in what Police Chief Daniel B. Young described as a total loss.
According to Young, authorities were alerted to the fire on Lakeshore Drive East when it was reported by the homeowner at 11:16 a.m.
Upon arrival shortly afterward, officers saw flames in the residence. Young said the homeowner, who had just had surgery, was assisted down the front steps and out the door of the home by Police Officer Nick Palmisano and Police Detective Sean Perry.
The fire was quickly elevated to a second alarm as volunteer firefighters from the Highland Lakes Fire Department along with the Vernon, McAfee, Pochuck Valley, Hardyston, and West Milford fire departments responded to the scene. Volunteers from the Vernon Township Ambulance Squad and Glenwood Pochuck Volunteer Ambulance Squad also responded.
Although the homeowner was not harmed, Young said the homeowner's dog died in the fire. No other occupants were in the house at the time, Young said.
Firefighters had the blaze under control as of 11:42 a.m., according to Young. By that point, however, the fire had done enough damage to render the home uninhabitable, with its frame left standing but much of the rest destroyed.
Young indicated the cause of the fire remains under investigation but is not considered suspicious.
Eric Obernauer can also be contacted on Twitter: @EricObernNJH or by phone at 973-383-1213.