Story and photos by Ron Jeffers
Four firefighters were sent to the hospital and numerous others treated at the scene for smoke and heat-related problems when fire tore through a North Bergen, New Jersey, two-story dwelling on August 26.
North Hudson Regional fire units were dispatched to 804-73rd St. around 4 a.m. Police arrived first to find a working fire and started to assist the seven residents out of the structure and called for EMS units to respond. One elderly resident, having difficulty walking, was assisted to safety by police and first-arriving 3rd Battalion Chief Nick Sico.
The fire involved the first-floor rear, but quickly spread to the basement and second-floor. Flames vented out of the first floor A-side windows and front door as a second-alarm was transmitted.
While battling the stubborn fire, four firefighters were injured and sent to local hospitals–two with burn injuries and two with smoke inhalation. They were all expected to be released before the day was over.
The temperature inside the structure was estimated as “well over 1000 degrees as they advanced their lines,” said Chief of Department Frank Montagne.
Before it was over, a third-alarm and a special call for an additional engine and truck for relief purposes was transmitted. Incident commander, Deputy Chief Mike Cranwell, reported the fire as “probably will hold” at 5:58 a.m.
The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety was called for an investigation.