By Mary-Lyn Buckley and Joseph Passero
Firefighters and police officers surrounded Route 206 on Tuesday night after an apparent fire broke out in a house across the street from the Lawrenceville campus.
Neighbors estimated that the fire began around 7:45 p.m. on Feb. 27.
2132 Lawrenceville Road had been under construction for about a year and no one has lived in the home for two years, according to next-door neighbor Bill Brody.
Brody stated he had seen the builders working inside the house earlier that day.
“Today they really started working on it. There’s no power, no gas, there’s nothing hooked up to that house. I saw some of the debris in the bottom corner of the house that caught fire,” he said. “The smoke was rising throughout the whole building and rising through the windows. It took quite a while for them to get a handle on it.”
According to the Lawrence Road Fire Company, investigators were looking for a very small and hot area of the home.
Another neighbor, Angela Knox, said she saw the smoke rising.
“The smoke filled up and spread to our backyard, and when the fire department arrived, they came and broke the front door down,” she said.
This is the second time this house has caught fire in nearly ten years, Brody added.
“Ten years ago the folks that lived there were working on the roof,” he said. “It’s over 100 years old, it’s made of wood. The owner at the time was working on the slate roof with a torch and the timbers caught fire.”
The university temporarily closed both entrances when the fire broke out, resulting in students being unable to enter or leave campus.
Junior psychology major Ellen Erickson said, “I was directed to park on a nearby street for almost 30 minutes. There had to be at least six police cars and seven firetrucks.”
The south entrance reopened at 8:45 p.m. and was accessible when coming from the direction of Darrah Lane.
Firefighters say the cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time; however, no one was reported hurt or injured.