Although the fire was contained to a few of the rooms at the front of the home on County Road 4858, there was heat and smoke damage throughout. Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze that occurred around 8 p.m.
Nobody except Romeo, the family’s Maltese dog, was home at the time of the fire. Gjulabije and Blerim Alka were tending to customers on the busiest night of the week at their restaurant, Venice Pizza and Pasta in Newark. The nieces – a third and fifth grader at Seven Hills Elementary School – and their grandmother, who lives in a guest house behind the scorched home, were out of town visiting the girls’ dad.
Neighborhood kids riding their bikes saw the smoke and called 911.
The first fire apparatus from Newark arrived in less than five minutes to find flames through the front windows. Within minutes, most of the Newark fleet was on scene. The Rhome Volunteer Fire Department assisted.
“I was impressed by the quick response of the 13 or 14 guys,” Assistant Fire Chief Jerry Taylor said. “Their quick response contained the fire to the front room and stopped it from running up into the attic.”
The cause of the fire is unknown.
“The best we can tell, it started in the front living room,” Taylor said. “We don’t have the ability to do the investigation to determine what caused the fire.”
Although lamenting the loss of sentimental possessions, the family is grateful that all that was lost was material.
“My nephew is upset that he lost his computer … but the main thing is that nobody was hurt,” Gjulabije said. “As much as it hurts because I lost personal things, at least I don’t have to cry over a dead body.”