A fast-moving fire fueled by high winds destroyed a two-story Hilltop Drive home in Bayville this morning, Bayville Fire Chief Kenneth Anderson said.
"The house is a total loss," he said. "There was so much fire on the first floor of the house."
The residents were out of the house by the time firefighters arrived and were not injured. No firefighters were injured either, Anderson said.
The family's dog "Morgan" - a boxer mix - escaped the fire, but disappeared in the confusion.
"She's a very friendly dog," said Jay Phillips, whose father-in-law lived in the house with his fiancee.
Morgan is wearing a collar and I.D. tags. Phillips said they received a report of a dog resembling Morgan in the Ocean Gate area, but asked that people watch for her everywhere.
Please contact Helen at 732-581-7633 or Jay at 732-300-6180 if you find her. Hilltop Drive is in the area near St. Barnabas R.C. Church off Woodland Road.
"The house is done," Phillips said. "They lost everything."
The blaze broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Firefighters were hampered by high winds and extreme cold, Anderson said.
"It was cold, very cold," Anderson said. "It made everything a little more difficult."
It took firefighters roughly 45 minutes to knock down the fire, but they stayed for several hours later, he said.
"We remained on location to put out hot spots and make sure everything was extinguished," Anderson said.
The blaze also ignited a gas meter on the side of the house, he said.
The Pinewald Pioneer Volunteer Fire Company, the Manitou Park Fire Company and the Forked River Fire Company also responded. The fire is under investigation by the Ocean County Fire Marshal's Office.