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Frenchtown vehicle accident and fire under investigation

Photo from Frenchtown Fire Relief Fund on Go Fund Me.

A motor vehicle accident and structural fire that occurred on Bridge Street in Frenchtown, N.J., on Monday is under investigation by detectives from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s office and Frenchtown Borough police, county officials announced Tuesday.

“The preliminary investigation has revealed that a heavy duty wrecker hauling a large trailer was traveling southbound on CR513 at approximately 10:40 pm.,” explained Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III. “For yet to be determined reasons, the tow truck left the roadway, and struck the Galasso’s Pizzeria, located on Bridge Street in Frenchtown. The pizzeria became engulfed in flames, and the fire spread to the Frenchtown Café. The structures suffered extensive damage. The driver of the vehicle, Roberto Velez, age 37, of Kearny, N.J., suffered minor injuries, and refused medical treatment at the scene. The wrecker was owned by B&L Towing and Recovery, of Carteret, N.J.”

One of the apartments above the pizzeria was occupied at the time of the crash, and the tenant was able to evacuate with the courageous assistance of several good samaritans, officials said. The tenant was reported to be uninjured.

“I commend the dedication and commitment of the volunteer firefighters from Hunterdon County and the surrounding areas for their quick response to this fire,” Kearns said. “Without the tremendous response from these volunteers, it is likely the damage to the businesses in the area would have been far worse.”

“This is an active investigation, and we are asking anyone with information to please contact the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office at (908) 788-1129,” added Kearns.

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