New Jersey Blaze Injures Two Firefighters

Two firefighters injured, four alarms, five hours, six homes, eight-inch water main problems, 12 mutual aid towns, nearly 30pieces of apparatus, 50 people homeless and scores of firefighters.

That's what it was like at the scene of a general alarm fire which broke out just before 4 p.m. on April 17, allegedly originating in the basement of 106 Mill Street. This was the second major fire on this block in the last six months. The first destroyed three homes and damaged two others.

Neighbors noticed smoke coming from the basement of the two story building and called 911 to report the fire. The first units on the scene declared a working fire with smoke showing.

As Deputy Chief Murray arrived, the fire had already begun to travel to the upper floors. The building was one of several attached structures and he ordered a second alarm as crews attempted an aggressive interior attack. The fire took hold rather quickly and spread rapidly to the adjacent structures fanned by a stiff wind and hampered by low water pressures.

A third-alarm was sounded, bringing mutual aid companies to the scene. Conditions continued to deteriorate and the interior crews were ordered out of the fire buildings, As the Paterson crews hammered away with two ladder pipes, a tower ladder, two deck guns and several two-and a half inch lines, the mutual aid personnel attempted to gain additional water supplies to boost water pressure on the fire.

A decision was made to relay water from Main Street some three blocks away from the 12-inch water main. West Paterson's engine dropped a five inch LDH from Main Street and relayed to a Totowa Engine, which in turn fed Paterson's Ladder 2 and Engine 7 with additional water.

A fourth-alarm was issued for additional engines to relay water from Spruce Street which also had a 12- inch main. North Haledon's engine crew grabbed a hydrant at Spruce and Oliver Streets. Several other mutual aid crews covered the city's firehouses including Paramus, Glen Rock, Saddle Brook, Lodi, West Paterson, Wayne and Elmwood Park.

The fire was placed under control around 9 p.m. A Paterson firefighter and a Fairlawn firefighter were transported to a local hospital with minor injuries. A civilian was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.

Six buildings were either damaged or destroyed. Approximately 50 people were displaced by the fire. The American Red Cross was on the scene to assist them. Teaneck's Box 54 Canteen crew responded with two units and supplied refreshments.

The cause and origin are under investigation by the Paterson Fire Department, the Passaic County Arson Squad, the Passaic County Prosecutors Office and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.