Edgewater fire: Avalon apartments still smoldering, 15 hours after massive blaze …

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hundreds Displaced As Massive Fire Rips Through NJ Apartment Complex.

EDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — Hampered by winds and frigid temperatures, firefighters battled a huge fire Wednesday night at a New Jersey apartment complex that sent flames sky high and smoke visible from New York City across the Hudson River. Embers spread, which ignited other small fires as well. “When I came here it was just smoke, but I came here around 5:30 and basically it wasn’t that much of a fire, but now it’s horrible,” says displaced resident Hamza Alkhayyat.

As the fire continued to rage, hundreds who lived at the complex, including New York Yankees announcer John Sterling, wondered what would be left of their homes. ‘I was wondering what I was going to do for clothes,’ the announcer also said. ‘But then I started thinking about all the stuff, all the memories, whether it be music, books, and a lot of other stuff. I went to my elevators [at the back of the building] and tried walking in, but the smoke was so intense I said to myself, “John, you better get the hell out of here.’ So I just drove away.”‘ Plumes of thick, black smoke issued from the blaze, and New York emergency officials advised residents in Manhattan and the Bronx that they might see or smell smoke. At a news conference around 11:15 p.m., the borough’s mayor, Michael McPartland, said he was declaring a local state of emergency and schools would be closed on Thursday. More than 14 years ago, a fire started at the same location where a five-story condominium complex was under construction and destroyed nine homes and damaged several others.

Some residents later relocated to a local community center where they were planning to spend the night, he said, adding that the Red Cross was involved. The fire appeared to have ravaged his side of the building. “I’m worried my apartment is gone,” he said. “I will have to start all over.” The management quickly told residents to evacuate, Mr. When Amir Moussavian, 53, of Paramus, arrived at his fiancée’s home near the complex for dinner on Wednesday, he noticed that the electricity was out in the adjacent buildings, so he went to have a look at the fire. He had first heard about the five-alarm blaze on the radio that afternoon. “It’s remarkable,” he said, looking out at the conflagration. “And it’s gotten worse since I’ve been here.

There were no serious injuries in that fire, but officials said they had trouble extinguishing it because a ruptured gas line in the center of the apartment complex fed the fire.

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