Photos and info by Ron Jeffers
A fire in an old, three-story, wood frame dwelling with tin ceilings kept firefighters busy in Union City, New Jersey, on the afternoon of March 9, 2021.
North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue, which covers this city and four other bordering municipalities, dispatched a full assignment to 3417 Hudson Avenue shortly before 2 p.m. for a report of smoke in the hallway. Apparatus placement was hampered by street closings due to construction, including Hudson Avenue, one block south of the fire building. Fire companies radioed directions to each other on the best way to approach the structure.
Firefighters found a haze in the hallway and began a search. Smoke and later fire broke out from the A side between the first and second floors. Members began opening up walls to locate fire and its traveling direction. The first-floor apartments had “tall ceilings” to open and, after the first ceiling was open, there was a tin ceiling above that. Heavy smoke was covering the front of the building as members opened up walls, floors, and ceiling to find flames.
Additional resources were needed for this labor-intensive fire. A total of four alarms were transmitted by Deputy Chief David Donnarumma, which included mutual aid units from Jersey City and Hoboken to the scene. Firefighters went through numerous air bottles and the North Hudson Mask Service Unit used up its air supply and all spare bottles. The Jersey City Mask Service was special called to the fire for additional air supply.
During the fire, two members were injured and removed by stretcher by city EMS and taken to a local hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries.
It took several hours and a lot of “opening up” to reach the flames before the multiple-alarm fire was declared under control.
The Red Cross was on the scene to assist residents. The Jersey City Gong Club canteen was also present for rehab purposes.
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