New Jersey

Multiple Houses Catch Fire After Plane Crashes in New Jersey; Pilot Dead

A Cessna 414 crashed into a home around 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the FAA; no civilians were hurt and only the pilot was on board

What to Know

  • Multiple houses caught fire in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey, after a plane crash, according to the Colonia Fire Department
  • A Cessna 414 crashed into a home on Berkley Avenue at 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the FAA
  • No civilians in the homes were hurt and only the pilot, who died in the crash, was aboard the plane

At least two houses caught fire in a New Jersey town after a plane came crashing down from above, killing the pilot, according to fire officials and the NTSB.

A Cessna 414 crashed into a home on Berkley Avenue in Woodbridge Township at 11 a.m. Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Association said. The FAA will conduct an investigation into the cause of the crash.

Mayor of Woodbridge Township John E. McCormac said no civilians were hurt and that only the pilot was aboard the plane. The pilot, identified as Michael Schloss, died in the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Schloss was a cardiologist in New York City who had moved to Virginia and was coming back to the city for a lecture. The plane had taken off from an airport in Virginia Tuesday morning, and was set to land in at Linden Airport some time shortly after noon.

The plane was seen on a doorbell camera falling from the sky, just moments before the crash.

The home directly impacted by the plane, located in the Colonia neighborhood, was completely engulfed in flames, but thankfully no one was home at the time — relieving neighbors who panicked after seeing a car was still in the driveway. A woman next door managed to escape, but her house sustained fire damage. An additional home also suffered some damage.

"Right now we don't believe any civilians on the ground were impacted by the crash," McCormac said.

The area is heavily residential with tree-lined streets. 

News 4's Dennis Protsko, who is part of the Chopper team, lives just a block away from the scene and heard the noise of the impact. Although he did not see the aircraft, he did see at least one house fully engulfed in flames.

Protsko says that when he went outside he saw "very heavy flames and very heavy black smoke coming up from the fire."

Mutual aid response from surrounding towns and townships responded to the scene, according to Protsko. 

“The pilot was in communication with air traffic control and was cleared for an approach into Linden Airport ... and the airplane subsequently lost radar contact and lost communications with the airplane," siad NTSB investigator Adam Gerhardt.

At the time of the crash, Linden Airport — the closest observation site to the incident — reported that the visibility dropped from 10 miles to two miles between 10:55 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. Weather conditions also included calm winds, mist and a ceiling of 700 feet.

A neighbor in the area recalls hearing a plane that sounded "really low."

"It sounded really low, it started to sputter a little bit," he told News 4. "All of a sudden there was this huge explosion, or just this big bang, louder than any car crash I've ever heard."

According to McCormac, the power and gas have been turned off for the homes in the immediate area "as a safety precaution."

The cause of the incident is currently unknown. However, according to recording on LiveATC.Net, the traffic controller attempted to contact the flight prior to the crash, but received no response.

NTSB investigators were on the scene of the crash Monday evening.

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