Firefighters Battle Wind-Driven Paterson (NJ) Fire

Article and photo by Ron Jeffers

Easter morning was disrupted in Paterson, New Jersey, by a fast-moving fire on Totowa Avenue that left 11 people homeless. 

Paterson Battalion 3 found the fire shortly after 9:30 a.m. and radioed in for a full assignment and a second alarm. The middle building, of three structures separated by small alleys, was heavily involved. The windy April morning helped the fire spread to the “B” and “D” exposures.  In addition, burning embers were blowing over the opposite side of the street.

A huge column of black smoke was visible as far away as Manhattan. A third-alarm and special call for additional units followed brining some 100 firefighters to the scene.

A defensive operation was established, and overhead power lines hampered the aerial attack. Two tower ladders and a ladder pipe were set up on the “B” and “D” sides and a deck gun on the “A” side from Engine 7. 

The buildings contained a shipping company, liquor store and laundromat on their respective ground floors with apartments above. Flames broke through the roofs, which collapsed as well as portions of the rear of the buildings. A demolition crew had to be called in to begin their work so firefighters could hit conceals hot spots.

See more of Ron’s photos from this fire HERE.

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