Residents were evacuated from Brookside Terrace Apartments in Newton on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2018. (Photo by Laurie Gordon).
Newton - Flames leapt out the front windows of an upper floor at Brookside Terrace Apartments on Mill Street, shortly after 7 a.m. on Thursday, leading to evacuations, minor injuries, and damage to the 9th and 10th floors, Newton Police said. Eight people were transported to Newton Medical Center for various reasons, including for respiratory treatment, diabetic issues, and a leg injury, according to Newton Police Lt. Robert Osborn. All patients were released within a few hours, Osborn stated. Police evacuated residents to Newton Firehouse No. 1 on Mill Street, across from the apartment complex. Osborn said that the lone resident of apartment unit 10-T, which was gutted by the fire, later learned that her service cat, who initially seemed to have gone missing, had in fact died. Newton Police noted that while the investigation has so far determined the origin of the fire, the cause remains undetermined. Nancy Staso, who lives on the 9th floor, said, “The mayor, the fire department, and the ambulance squad were wonderful and treated us like kings and queens. They got us all out of the building and then people from Hayek's [Market] brought us food as well as Dunkin’ Donuts and Weiss [Markets]; they even brought diapers for the baby and food for the cat.” Nancy’s son, William, is grateful everyone escaped in time. "Property management was great keeping us updated and getting us out," he said. The mother and son at 5 p.m. were waiting to see if they would be given a place to stay for the night after being told they would not be allowed back into their apartment for the foreseeable future. Lt. Osborn said that fire, smoke, and water rendered about 13 apartments uninhabitable. The Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and County Sheriff were on scene, and firefighters from smultiple nearby fire departments assisted, including, Andover Borough, Andover Township, Branchville, and Sparta.