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NJ Family's Home Destroyed After SUV Slams Into It

WEST CALDWELL, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - A West Caldwell family's home was completely destroyed after a car slammed into it and caught fire.

Smoke billowed and flames shot out the front door of the Rebelo family's home on Passaic Avenue.

Police say an SUV jumped the curb and slammed into the home, igniting sparks.

"He was dropping his daughter off at school," neighbor Jeffrey Zieleniewski told CBS2's Meg Baker. "He ran home when he heard the news, but there was nothing else he could do."

Car Into House
(credit: Facebook/Wendy Martin Brosse)

Zieleniewski told Baker it isn't the first time a car has lost control and landed on the property near Ellis Street.

The fire department arrived shortly after the house caught fire and then left, thinking the fire was out.

A father and son remediation team were admitted into the house to begin their work.

"We started boarding up the first floor, just about to start on the second floor. I was downstairs cutting and he was upstairs... and one of the officers came over and said he'd seen smoke coming out of the roof," said Dominick Gage.

The fire had started back up.

"All of a sudden, I heard 'Dad!' A loud scream, and then he came up and grabbed me. The whole top of the house started catching fire again," said Joseph Gage. "So thanks to that officer and my son, my heart is still beating a little hard, you know what I mean?"

Joseph Gage thanks his son Dominick for saving his life.

The fire department rushed back to the scene to secure the home again.

Neighbors told Baker the Robelos are staying with family for now.


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