Firefighters battled a four-alarm blaze in West New York and a five-alarm fire in Union City simultaneously last night, with 13 suffering injuries and around two dozen families displaced.
The West New York fire, at a four-story apartment building near the intersection of 55th and Madison Streets, began just before 5 p.m. on Thursday and still had firefighters on the scene as of this writing, North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue Chief David Donnarumma said over the phone this morning.
13 firefighters sustained injuries such as smoke inhalation, should strains, cuts that required stitches, and exhaustion. At least 21 individual apartments were displaced, with families receiving assistance from the American Red Cross.
“Mutual aid companies did a great job … they really did an amazing job. We had at least 15 different departments within our community and we had coverage in the region: I give credit to the Hudson County Mutual Aid package,” Donnarumma stated.
Others on the scene included the Bayonne, Hoboken, Jersey City, Kearny, and Secaucus Fire Departments, Jersey City police, the Jersey City Office of Emergency Management, as well as EMS from most, if not all, of those municipalities.
As for the Salvation Army building in Union City, located at 900 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, began around 6:50 p.m. yesterday and wasn’t deemed under control for several hours. Firefighters arrived on scene after receiving a call about an explosion with fire.
Fortunately, no one was injured at the scene of the commercial fire, which was largely contained from adjacent buildings.
“In my 31-year career, I’ve never witnessed it [two large-scale fires at once]. Again, I just have to communicate that the mutual aid package and our recall capabilities made this successful,” Donnarumma added, specifically thanking the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Chief Steven Dyl and Jersey City Deputy Fire Chief Robert Daly for running point on mutual aid efforts.