Camp Parkway house burns

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, May 12, 2010

COURTLAND—One day after a fire destroyed their two-story home, T.J. and Michelle Mari sorted through the charred wreckage looking for anything salvageable.

After several hours of sifting through debris, the Maris and their friends found some valuables: A bucket full of coins. An earring. Several sets of keys.

Even Michelle’s barely damaged wedding dress and pictures from the Maris’ wedding.

“It was under another box that didn’t make it, but the dress was fine,” Michelle Mari said Tuesday.

The photo album that contained her wedding photos, “didn’t have a cover anymore but the pictures were OK.”

Michelle Mari said she went to the bank at about 11:30 a.m. Monday. About two hours later, she was at the Franklin Wal-Mart when someone called her to say her house was on fire.

“I thought ‘that’s not funny at all,’” Michelle Mari said.

But she soon discovered, to her horror, the news was true. When she returned to her home at 30225 Camp Parkway, she saw fire trucks from several departments roaring down the long, gravel driveway. Firefighters from Hunterdale, Franklin, Courtland and Sedley had all responded to the blaze.

“I appreciate everything that they did,” Michelle Mari said. “I know they wanted to do more, but they did everything that they could. I probably wouldn’t have been able to salvage anything without them.”

Michelle Mari said a fire inspector from her family’s insurance company was on-site Monday and Tuesday. She said the inspector believed the fire might have been caused by an issue during the home’s construction, when a staple was driven too far into a wire.

“Apparently one of the staples was in too far and pinched the wire and somehow, over the years, it welded (and) ignited the TV,” Michelle Mari said.

No one was home at the time of the fire and the Maris had no pets inside. Michelle Mari said her house, which had six bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms, was built in 2003. She indicated that they had not yet decided whether or not they would rebuild. Meanwhile, the Maris are staying in a local hotel.

“We appreciate the outpouring of support that we have received,” Michelle Mari said.