WOODBRIDGE — A quick-thinking pedestrian is being credited by Township Mayor John McCormac for saving lives during an apartment building fire that displaced 32 individuals early Sunday.

At least a dozen units in a two-story complex at Colonial Gardens Apartments in the Avenel section of the township were impacted by the fire around 4 a.m., McCormac said — six units were destroyed while another six suffered heavy water damage.

No residents were injured but one firefighter was treated for a minor injury, he continued.

MacCormac credits the efforts of a woman who called 911 about the fire and then knocked on doors and windows to get everyone out.

"She was apparently walking home from 7-Eleven on Route 1 and saw the fire which was just starting, immediately called 911 and just started knocking on doors and banging on windows," MacCormac told New Jersey 101.5.

McCormac said the complex has main entrances in the front and back and that the woman knocked on windows to get the attention of residents.

"There's people alive because she was in the right place at the right time," McCormac said.

Aftermath of a fire at the Colonial Gardens Apartments in the Avenel section of Woodbridge (Red Cross NJ)

The township offers a helping hand

The Woodbridge Charity Fund is collecting checks and gift cards at the community center with Venmo donations also being accepted soon, McCormac said as of Monday.

The American Red Cross of New Jersey offered initial emergency assistance on Sunday with temporary lodging, food, clothing and other immediate needs.

"Half of the units lost everything except what they were wearing," MacCormac said.

The mayor said the township is working with U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone's office and the state Motor Vehicle Commission to help try and replace immigration papers, green cards and driver's licenses and registrations which were lost in the fire.

"Even the six apartments with water and smoke damage they still haven't been able to get in the building so they don't know if their stuff is good anymore. It could have just dissolved," McCormac said.

Fire at the Colonial Gardens Apartments in the Avenel section of Woodbridge (Avenel Fire Department)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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