Stillwater Fatal Fire and Ambulance Crash
Stillwater Township, Sussex County, N.J. - Troopers from Sussex Station responded to a call for assistance at 926 Potters Rd. at 4:24 a.m. this morning. John Baer, 68, had driven to a neighbor’s house to report that his home was on fire and his wife was still inside. Mr. Baer had received burn injuries to his upper body and reported that he had carried his wife to the bathroom to try to extinguish her burning clothing after finding her on fire in his living room.
Troopers and fire personnel entered the smoke-filled structure and pulled 70-year-old Dorothy Baer from the bathroom and out of the house. Rescuers attempted to revive her, but were unsuccessful. She was later declared dead at the scene and taken to the Tri-County Medical Examiner’s Office at the Morristown Medical Center.
John Baer was being transported by a Stillwater Ambulance to a landing zone at the Stillwater Elementary School to be medivac’d when the ambulance ran off the road, struck a utility pole and partially overturned on Fredon Road. The driver of the ambulance William Martin, 56, of Stillwater, appeared to have had a medical episode that caused him to lose control of the vehicle. Martin was taken to Newton Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after 6:00 a.m.
Baer was taken by another ambulance to St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston where he was admitted for treatment of his burns. He was not injured further in the crash, nor were any of the personnel in the rig injured.
The NJSP Arson/Bomb detectives responded to the scene of the fire. The living room appears to be the origin of the fire, and although the fire is being still considered suspicious, no evidence of intentional arson has been uncovered at this time.
The State Police Major Crimes Unit, Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, Troop B Criminal Investigations Office, and the NJSP Arson/Bomb Unit are all assisting the Sussex Station personnel with the investigation into these two tragic incidents.
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