Photo Story: Renovations Challenge N.J. Crews

One vacant and two occupied homes were left uninhabitable after a raging fire jumped from one home to the next, causing significant damage to all three and displacing 10 people in Perth Amboy on Nov. 25.  

Firefighters from Perth Amboy were dispatched at 8:25 p.m. to 609 Elizabeth St., after receiving several reports of a house fire. Responding apparatus could see the glow given off by the wall of flames from three blocks away and knew they had a working fire. 

Upon arrival, the rear of the house was engulfed in flames with major extension into 611-613 Elizabeth St. An aggressive interior attack was attempted in the original fire building, but the intense heat forced the crew to back out and switch to a defensive mode.

Several handlines were used to contain the heavy fire from the exterior allowing firefighters to eventually make entry inside to extinguish fire that was traveling in void spaces caused by several renovations done to the home.

Firefighters advanced handlines into the exposure building that had heavy smoke pushing from the eaves and attic windows. Access was made to the second floor where ceilings and walls were pulled to locate the fire. The fire appeared to be traveling above them in the attic and eventually broke out at the peak of the roof.

The bulk of the exterior fire was knocked down easily, but firefighters struggled to access fire that was in void spaces caused by several additions constructed over the years.

Smoke continued to pour from all three homes as crews rotated in and out opening up walls and ceilings to locate and extinguish hidden fire. The smoke appeared to lighten up around 10:30 p.m. as firefighters continued to open up and extinguish hot spots. 

The blaze took approximately two hours to bring under control, but fire personnel remained on scene until 1:20 a.m. conducting extensive overhaul and wrapping up equipment.

One civilian suffered a minor hand injury, while no firefighter injuries were reported at the scene.

Mutual aid fire departments from South Amboy, Sayreville and Woodbridge Township assisted at the scene and provided coverage for the city during the incident.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by Perth Amboy fire officials.

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