Photo Story: Three Firefighters Injured at N.J. Blaze

More than a dozen pets, including 11 dogs and three cats, perished on Aug. 26 after a fast moving fire ripped through a home that was being used as a pet-sitting business in Clifton.

The Clifton Fire Department was dispatched just before 1:00 p.m. to 176 Mountainview Dr. for when the owner returned home to find smoke coming from the house.

Firefighters arrived on scene and found heavy smoke and flames engulfing the rear of a two-story single family dwelling.

An aggressive interior attack was attempted, but conditions deteriorated rapidly, forcing the crew to back out and battle the fire from a defensive mode. Firefighters made another attempt to conduct interior operations once the bulk of the flames were darkened from the exterior, but were forced to retreat again when the roof showed signs of collapse.

Two elevated master streams and several hand lines were utilized to extinguish the fire that took approximately two hours to bring under control.

The homeowner was able to rescue two dogs from the home, but could not save the others due to heavy smoke and intense heat. Some of the pets killed were the homeowners, but several others were pets of clients that left them in the care of the owners.

The home suffered structural collapse in several areas and appears to be a total loss. The family is seeking temporary shelter until their home could be rebuilt.

Firefighters battled the intense blaze on a hot and humid day with temperatures soaring into the 90’s. At least three firefighters suffered non-life threatening injuries, including heat exhaustion and were transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson.

Mutual aid fire departments from Passaic, Paterson, Bloomfield, Nutley, and Montclair responded to the scene to assist Clifton firefighters.

The fire appears to have started in the rear of the home, but a cause has not yet been determined by fire investigators.