Truck strikes West Belmar house, starting fire — no injuries

A house in West Belmar caught fire on Jan. 3 when it was stuck by an out-of-control pickup truck. PHOTO COURTESY OF WALL FIRE CO. 1

WALL TOWNSHIP — No one was injured when a truck struck a house in West Belmar, starting a fire that spread to the house on Thursday, Jan. 3, police said.

The incident began around 8:30 p.m. when the driver of a pickup truck traveling west in reverse on 18th Avenue lost control of his vehicle, which left the roadway and struck a house at 1115 18th Ave., police said. The truck caught fire and the flames spread to the house, police said.

Wall Fire Co. No. 1 was dispatched, and the deputy chief immediately called in the South Wall and Glendola fire companies, which assisted in extinguishing the flames, Township Fire Marshal William Newberry said.

Police said the driver of the pickup, Richard Van Ness Jr., 69, of Wall Township, fled the scene after the accident but later was apprehended by police.

Mr. Van Ness was charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a crash, failure to report a motor vehicle collision, criminal mischief and obstruction, police said.

Robin Palendrano, who lives in the home, said she was not at home at the time of the fire; she had left a few minutes before to visit a friend.

Ms. Palendrano said her indoor cat, Sam, escaped during the fire, and she was still looking for him on Friday. The cat is described as a gray-and-brown tabby with green eyes.


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