Hoboken (NJ) Firefighters Injured Battling Fire in Frigid Conditions

Fire vents from an upper story of this Hoboken (NJ) building.

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By Ron Jeffers

On the eve of St. Valentine’s Day, Hoboken (NJ) nightlife was interrupted by a four-alarm fire on the main street that left 14 firefighters injured. Despite a temperature reading of seven degrees, many lined the street to observe the battle.

Around 10 p.m., fire companies were sent to a reported fire on the 500-block of Washington Street. Fire was showing from an upper-floor window as units arrived at a four-story mixed occupancy structure, in a row of similar type buildings. All six companies were dispatched and the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Squad set up on the opposite side of the wide street. The buildings involved contained apartments on three floors above stores. All residents were safely escorted and taken to a shelter.

Firefighters began knocking down visible fire, but there were flames in the walls rising to the roof level. Low-banking smoke blew toward the Hudson River as well as burning embers. Jersey City fire companies were dispatched to the scene, which included Engines 5 and 10, Ladders 8 and 12, and Battalions 2 and 3.  The fire extended into Exposure “B” and flames eventually tore through the roof and vented out windows on the Washington Street side. Firefighters were ordered off of the roof and out of the buildings. A fourth alarm brought in units from the North Hudson Regional Fire Department that included Squad 2, Battalion 1, and Safety 1. Additional North Hudson units covered, and responded to other alarms, in the city.

Ladder pipes were set up and EMTs began treating firefighters. Most of the injuries were minor, including cuts, smoke inhalation, exhaustion, and hypothermia, officials said. A member of covering North Hudson Engine Co. 9 was also injured at an incident on Willow Avenue and the company was placed out-of-service.  

Ice-coated firefighters worked for several hours braving the weather, smoke and flying embers. The multiple-alarm fire was declared under control at 1:55 a.m., February 14th.

The Gong Club canteen truck set up on Washington Street to offer a rehab site as firefighters rotated from firefighting to rehab.  Before it was over, the Catholic Community of Saint Peter and Paul set up a donation program for the victims that can be made at the Saints Peter and Paul Web site.

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