Fire damages half-century old business in Wayne

An alert passerby notified authorities of flames coming from the second floor of a 75′ X 125′ strip mall at 1459 Route 23 South at approximately 7:45am today, Thursday, June 18. Township companies 5, 2 and 1 were dispatched and the first arriving chief declared a working fire and requested remaining companies 3 and 4 to the scene. The fire was ultimately determined to be largely on the exterior of the building and
was doused quickly by the initial companies on the scene. There was some slight extension to the second floor and to the attic area, and the first floor received some smoke and water damage, but the swift actions of the crews did certainly avert what could have been, a much worse disaster.

The award winning business, Wayne Tile, was started by Bob Westra in 1955 in a garage. A few years later, his two brothers joined him and in 1963, 46 years ago, they moved to this location. They have since added three more locations and built a large warehouse just one block from this location. Their now grown children have taken over much of the active duties.

The fire was brought under control in under an hour and a preliminary investigation by Township Fire Investigator Scott Kooreman, points to the possibility of a lightning strike as the likely cause.

Story and photos by
Ron Johnson – NJMFPA
See more photos at:

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