ELIZABETH, NJ – A business was destroyed and a family of four was displaced after a three-alarm fire ripped through their two-story wood-frame building.
The first floor was occupied by San Cayethno Botanica, while the second floor housed an apartment.
On Dec. 3, just after 11 a.m., the Elizabeth Fire Department was dispatched to 14 Center St. for a reported fire.
The owner of the business noticed smoke then flames coming from the boiler and notified the fire department.
Heavy fire conditions were found in the rear on the first floor and heavy smoke on the second floor. The fire quickly spread to the second-floor as firefighters advanced several hand lines into the building.
The fire spread up the rear of the building and entered the attic area where flames could eventually be seen venting through the roof.
Interior crews initially had difficulty accessing the attic area where the flames were spreading toward the front of the building.
Several crews accessed the roof via ground ladders to open and extinguish remaining hot spots that could not be reached from inside the building.
The fire was darkened with several hand lines and declared under control in approximately an hour.
The building appeared to be a total loss due to the extent of fire, smoke and water damage.
The employees of the business and the family on the second floor were able to evacuate the building unharmed. One firefighter was transported to Overlook Hospital in Union for injuries sustained after a piece of debris fell and struck his head.
Mutual aid fire departments from Linden, Kenilworth, and Union assisted at the scene, while several other Union County fire departments covered the city during the incident.
The cause of the blaze is being investigated by Elizabeth fire officials, but it appears the fire started from the boiler in the first floor business.