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Homeowner Irate Over Fire Department's Response Time After Sea Isle City Home Goes Up In Flames

SEA ISLE CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- It was a devastating start to the Memorial Day weekend for one family after a fire destroyed a home in Sea Isle City. The fire broke out Thursday night on the 5600 block of Central Avenue and the homeowner is irate over the fire department's response time.

Authorities say the fire started in an SUV in the driveway and quickly spread to the home. Neighboring homes were also evacuated during the fire.

Video from Dennis Truax on Facebook shows as the flames engulfed the home.

Around 10:30 p.m., homeowner Janice Patano pulled into her driveway and went inside. Moments later, she came outside and that's when she saw smoke coming out of the hood of her 2014 Hyundai Sante Fe.

Patano said she was driving from Blue Bell to her home on Central Avenue, where she was planning on staying most of the summer. Now, her car and her home are charred and burned.

Patano said she had to stand and watch her house burn as police and ambulances arrived on the scene before the fire department did. She claims 20 minutes passed between her call and the response time. Her neighbors have expressed concerns about multiple fires in Sea Isle the last several months.

"Another cop comes and I go, 'Where is the fire truck?' And ambulances come and I go, 'Where's the fire truck?' Twenty minutes later a fire truck shows up. At that point, that entire car is engulfed in flames and it went to the house," said Patano.

"I wrote on the box that the fire burned for 20 minutes before water was applied. Twenty minutes, can you imagine?" neighbor Kevin Brennan said.

Sea Isle City Police Chief Thomas McQuillen told CBS3 the response time, according to their records, was 12 minutes before the first fire truck arrived and 16 to 17 minutes before water started hitting the house.

Police say the fire is not suspicious in nature.

All neighboring residents were able to return to their homes.

No one was injured in the fire.

CBS3's Dan Koob contributed to this report.

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