Story and photos by Peter Danzo
At just around 20:10 on Sunday March 16, 2015, the Irvington (NJ) Fire Department was dispatched to 646 Nye Ave for a reported building fire.
On arrival the first-due engine reported a working fire and, minutes later, the deputy chief arrived and requested a second alarm due to heavy fire in a large (approximately 100 x 150), single-story, non-combustable building occupied by a dollar store.
As second alarm companies were being dispatched, command advised that, due to the heavy fire conditions, this would be strictly an exterior defensive attack and told all units to maintain a collapse zone.
As the fire spread throughout the building and through the roof, companies were reporting an ember condition, which was threatening other buildings. Several loud exposions occured at the height of the fire as flames rose 40-50 feet above the roof line.
A third alarm was struck, bringing additional mutual aid companies to the fire and, within 30 minutes, several collapses occured of the front false facade and the exterior cinderblock walls on the A, B, and D sides.
Firefighters used three ladder pipes, one telesquirt, and multiple handlines and ground monitors to knock down the main body of fire by 23:45. All mutual aid companies were released by 02:00, however Irvington units remained on the scene through out the night and most of the next morning, hitting hot spots and awaiting demolition of what was left of the building.
One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was transported to the hospital. The cause is under investigation.
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