PASSAIC 4TH ALARM GUTS BUILDING
By Chris Tompkins
A gas fed fire that originated in the basement of a building containing a deli with apartments above, spread throughout and took hours to control on April 18th.
Firefighters were dispatched to 234 Main Ave at about 5:30 AM. A heavy smoke condition was issuing from the structure, but no fire was showing. Two residents were removed as searches were performed. A second alarm was transmitted followed shortly by a third as members searched, but could not locate the seat of the fire. As the smoke condition intensified and it became apparent that the fire was traveling through the walls from the basement, all firefighters were withdrawn.
Walls were opened up from the outside and exposed visible flames in the “B”/”C” corner of the structure. That was quickly knocked down, but the smoke continued to intensify from the upper floors and from the vent hole in the roof. Over a hour into the fire, flames vented out of second floor windows on the “D” side and through the vent hole. A fourth alarm was called for, as water issues began to become apparent. Three elevated master streams were intermittently operated to knock down the heavy fire. The rear portion of the roof collapsed. PSE&G arrived and shut the gas off at the street.
Hours later smoke continued to rise from the building. Several firefighters suffered minor cuts and burns. No civilians were reported injured. Approximately 100 firefighters from multiple Passaic and Bergen County departments assisted at the scene and provided station coverage. The cause is under investigation.