COVID silver lining: Student studying at home reports Morristown fire

Morristown High School football player Sergio Delgado's quick call helped save his family's duplex when a fire broke out on his neighbor's side, Nov. 15, 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


Sergio Delgado has spent most of this fall making tackles as a varsity linebacker for Morristown High School.

But he made his biggest play of the year on Monday morning, at home.

Fire damage to back of a home on Harrison Street in Morristown, Nov. 15, 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Smelling something strange, Delgado discovered smoke entering his family’s bathroom window, heard alarms and banging sounds from the other side of their Harrison Street duplex, and immediately called 911.

Firefighters responded quickly to the 11:09 a.m. call — in time to rescue the senior citizen who had collapsed inside the duplex, and to extinguish the blaze before it could spread to the entire structure, said Acting Deputy Fire Chief Nick Prizzi.

Smoke streams from back of home on Harrison Street. Video courtesy of April Parzero:

EMTs from the fire bureau rushed the victim, a woman, to Morristown Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation, Prizzi said.

“I’m grateful. It could have been a lot worse,” said Delgado, 17, who was at home with his grandmother at the time. The MHS junior smelled smoke during a break between his virtual classes. Morristown High has been closed since Friday because of an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Prizzi said he is hopeful Delgado’s family will be able to return to its half of the duplex on Tuesday. The Red Cross should help them with lodging in the meantime, he said. The other half of the house sustained extensive damage.

The fire, which remains under investigation, appears to have started in the kitchen at 31 Harrison St., Prizzi said.

Morristown Acting Deputy Fire Chief Nick Prizzi at scene of fire on Harrison Street, Nov. 15, 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Capt. Phil Barter and his men from the fire bureau’s tour one knocked down the blaze within about five minutes, Prizzi said. They were backed up by the Madison Fire Department’s Rapid Intervention Crew.

Firefighters removed a large collection of toys from the burned house, in an effort to preserve them.

When asked how it felt to be a hero, Delgado insisted he was just being a team player.

“I did what I was supposed to do, just doing the right thing,” he said, standing in the raw November wind outside the home where he lives with his mom, grandmother, uncle and kid brother.

Morristown firefighters at scene of Harrison Street fire, Nov. 15, 2021. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

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  1. What an amazing story. This young man is being modest, but he may have saved his neighbor’s and his grandmother’s lives, in addition to the house–a hero indeed. Best wishes to all affected by this fire.