Multialarm fire engulfs Edgewater, N.J. apartment complex

22 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5-alarm blaze engulfs Edgewater apartment complex; hundreds evacuated.

A massive multialarm fire tearing through a large apartment complex in New Jersey has likely left hundreds homeless tonight — including the beloved voice of the New York Yankees. “I was wondering what I was going to do for clothes.

EDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) — Firefighters are battling a huge fire at a New Jersey apartment complex that’s sent flames sky high and smoke visible from New York City across the Hudson River.SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. (AP) — Southern California authorities say a 3-year-old boy has died after being severely injured in a fire that tore through a condominium without working smoke alarms. 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,” he recalled. “One positive is, if there can be any, is all the people that have called me up asking how I’m doing.

Plumes of thick, black smoke issued from the fire, and New York emergency officials advised residents in Manhattan and the Bronx that they might see or smell smoke. Great clouds of black smoke and blasts of fire shot from the roof of the structure, as ladder trucks poured water into the growing blaze, with no sign that the fire was anywhere near under control at 7:40 p.m., more than three hours after it was first reported at 4:30. The local volunteer fire company was assisted by firefighters and equipment from at least six nearby municipalities, Hackensack, Fort Lee, Little Ferry, Teaneck, Tenafly and Englewood. Numerous firefighters from Edgewater and surrounding towns were battling the blaze, but their efforts were being hampered by windy conditions and frigid temperatures.

Fire officials called for more assistance as the blaze raged out of control, showering the rooftops of lower buildings across the street with flaming embers. The fire started in the rear of the southern portion of the complex and quickly spread to the front and north, forcing firefighters to retreat and battle the blaze from the outside. One woman anxiously watching the scene, Lauren Jay, said her mother, father and grandmother first became aware of the fire when they smelled smoke, heard a knock on their door and were ordered to get out. Gina Robertson, a neighbor who lives farther down the street from the burning apartment complex, said she had lived even closer to the site in 2000, when an earlier fire destroyed the building then under construction and spread to her own home as well as others in the immediate area.

Hamza Abdul said he was at work when a colleague called to tell him of the blaze, so he rushed home. “I can’t believe it,” he said. “It’s all ashes now.” He said he planned to stay at a friend’s house. Julio Bravo and his wife, who live in Guttenberg, a Hudson County town to the south, said he had received a phone call from an ambulance crew member saying his daughter, who worked in the Avalon, was aboard the vehicle.

According to a form filed by the company at the end of 2013 with the federal Securities Exchange Commission, the complex was completed in 2002, at a total cost of nearly $80 million. The apartment complex is on the site of the former Alcoa aluminum plant, where millions of aluminum cans and other products were manufactured until the plant closed in 1967. The plant, which was vacant for three decades, was demolished in the late 1990s in a project that included a cleanup of PCBs that contaminated the land.

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