The Hudson County Regional Arson Task Force is probing a horrific three-alarm West New York blaze that left 35 people displaced and 10 firefighters injured.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Even on Thanksgiving night when so many of us were enjoying time with our families, these firefighters bravely risked their lives to keep us safe,” Weehawken Mayor and Chair of North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue’s Management Committee Richard Turner said in a statement.
“The heroism of these firefighters is a testament to their commitment to our communities, and we are thankful every day for the work they do to keep us all safe.”
When the fire broke out on the corner of 53rd Street and Bergenline Avenue, North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue units immediately responded and a group of firefighters ascended to the roof of a neighboring building to gain access, NHRFR spokesman Nick Bond said.
A major explosion occurred and the roof collapsed beneath them causing them to fall over twenty feet and be buried in rubble and debris.
Fire personnel rescued them from the rubble and the injured were immediately transported to Hackensack University Medical Center and the Jersey City Medical Center trauma unit. Despite the severity of the situation, all of the firefighters are now in stable condition, Bond added.
During suppression efforts, 10 Firefighters were injured, two of whom suffered serious injuries, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez added in her own statement.
One firefighter remains hospitalized with injuries that are not considered to be life threatening at this time. Additionally, four civilians were treated for minor injuries and released. The fire began around 5:30 p.m. was placed under control just before 8:30 p.m.
“The courageous efforts of our firefighters were instrumental in preventing any loss of life during this incident,” added NHRFR Chief David Donnarumma.
“I’m incredibly thankful that all of these dedicated members of our department are expected to recover and that there was no loss of life among residents or firefighters.”
Residents were evacuated from three buildings and temporarily given shelter nearby. The Town of West New York is coordinating with the Red Cross to provide them with assistance including temporary housing, clothing, and other essential supplies.
“We are heartbroken to see these families’ lives devastated on what was supposed to be a happy holiday evening,” stated West New York Mayor Albio Sires.
“Our immediate focus is on ensuring their health and safety in the aftermath of this crisis and providing them with any help they need to begin rebuilding their lives. I want to thank the courageous firefighters of North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue for helping ensure that no lives were lost in this tragic event.“
In total, nearly 60 firefighters and 20 pieces of NHRFR apparatus were dispatched to the scene, and mutual aid companies from Hudson County covered North Hudson while NHRFR was performing their duties.
A preliminary investigation by the Hudson County Regional Arson Task Force determined the fire originated in an apartment bedroom and the cause remains under investigation, though foul play is not suspected at this time.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the HCPO at 201-915-1345 or to leave a tip at: http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.
All information will be kept confidential.