(Paterson -WABC, November 9, 2004) -- It was a frightening night for dozens of people in New Jersey after a fast moving fire tore through their homes. Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson is on the scene in Paterson with the latest.
People living here on east 18th Street say that the popping sound they heard just a few hours ago was tremendous. What they were hearing was live wires catching fire outside of their home. It was just about 12:30 this morning. Fire officials say that a fire started in an abandoned building and quickly spread to two occupied structures.
By the time that crews got there, everyone living in the pair of buildings was safely out. The concern was the initial building where the fire started. Crews believe squatters had been living in there and built a fire to keep warm.
Building Resident: "I looked to the right and then I see flames. I immediately ran to my father's room and mother's room and then to the guy that lives with us. I knocked on the door and said, get out. My mother just threw on her blanket and we all just started running outside."
Firefighters did do an initial search of that abandoned building and didn't find anybody inside. Then they had to pull out because it partially collapsed.
The Red Cross is helping some of the 40 people who had to get out of their homes. The others are staying with relatives.
There were a handful of firefighters left on the scene mid-morning, still spraying water onto some of the homes because there is still smoke coming out.