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UPDATED: Amwell Road Fire Called 'Suspicious'

Blaze guts structure whose owner has been trying to demolish to build an office building.

A Sunday morning fire that gutted a historic Amwell Road home whose owner—a Hillsborough fire chief—has been trying for years to demolish to build an office building is being treated as "suspicious," Hillsborough's chief fire marshal said.

"This fire is currently under investigation and considered suspicious at this time," Chief Fire Marshal Chris Weniger said.

Weniger referred all further questions to the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office, which is handling the investigation.

Capt. Jack Bennett, a spokesman for Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano, said the investigation is ongoing and could not immediately release further details Sunday afternoon.

Bennett said Monday the investigation remained ongoing.

Hillsborough Mayor Carl Suraci said he could not provide many details, but believed the home was destroyed.

“From what I was told, the structure is not going to be able to be salvageable," Suraci said.

Fire companies from Hillsborough, Neshanic and Flagtown responded to the blaze, which broke out at about 7 a.m. Amwell Road between East Mountain and River roads was closed for hours while firefighters extinguished the blaze. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The single-family residence was built in the 1800s and has been vacant for nearly a decade, neighbors said.

John Lazorchak, who owns the home and the adjacent has been trying to demolish the structure and build a 6,700-square-foot office building.

However, the Historic Preservation Commission has denied the request, which Lazorchak has appealed.

Lazorchak's appeal was r.

Lazorchak, who is the chief of the Neshanic Fire Co., could not immediately be reached for comment on Sunday.

A voicemail and email for Lazorchak's attorney, Michelle Lamar, were also not returned Sunday.

Patch will continue to update this story.

Gerard Longo and Mike Dennis contributed to this report.

Curt Carnes March 19, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I did little research and I have discovered why Ms Bond feels the way she does. Back on July 26, 2011, Ms. Bond stated in The Hillsborough Patch the following: “Friends of mine had been working and putting money away for DECADES to buy a large parcel of land that could be divided between themselves and their 3 children. An opportunity arose that was perfect... so they set the wheels in motion. The committee insisted that in order to obtain a variance to knock down the existing house, they were to "give" 10 out of 40 acres to the township for "open space". The 10 was to include the pond on the property. Since they would no longer have 40 acres... and the piece of land was off-road (zoning is 10 acres off-road) the parcel could not be divided between the couple and their 3 children. Since the committee was being unreasonable... my friends were out of luck. Here is the link http://hillsborough.patch.com/articles/demolition-hearing-for-historic-building-delayed-to-fall Now I understand her statement, about her telling the TC to tell Mr. Mr. Lazorchek, to give up his land for Open Space. However, it leaves me with a few questions that I think Ms. Bond can answer by simply supplying the date of the committee meeting when this alleged discussion took place. From there I’ll be more than happy to research the minutes, (they are on-line you know) which I’m sure will answer my questions
jerseyjoed March 20, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Well Curt, why don't we start with a nice big EXXON station there instead, Then the fine folks of western Hillsborough wouldn't have to drive so far to gas up go to the Walmart they're going to build where the golf course is (was). And I;m sure the amusement park to be built on the old Sourland preserve will bring in lots of dough for the town. No doubt that at one time the 206 corridor wasn't congested at all. It may even have looked something like that stretch of Amwell Road at one time... guess what happened.
mike murray March 20, 2012 at 09:58 PM
yea well i live 2 houses down from the fire our built in 1751 this is an historic area and is part of the reason we moved here we put on an addition and had to keep it historic that costs alot more for what! to live next to an office building i have lived in neshanic all my life and yea would give our big half acre to open space if it would cut down our taxes. thanks lazorchek for wrecking a sunday while your on vacation I mean really what are we stupid.great job on video dwight your nieghbor mike m
Big Shirl March 25, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Well now- I think there's a lot of "pologizing" to do....especially from Susan Bond. Just a little lesson for all of you...before you go putting your thoughts in writing, get all the facts straight!
S.G. March 25, 2012 at 07:49 PM
What? Is there something missing here?

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