“Phenomenal job by the North Hudson Regional Fire Department,” says Township Manager, Giovanni Ahmad. “They immediately responded, took care of the situation.”
“Fire control got two calls (Tuesday, at 5:27 in the morning) reporting heavy smoke condition on the street in the area of 115 Oak Street and found heavy fire condition coming from the rear,” says Public Safety Director, Jeff Welz.
Immediately they went to a second alarm, followed by a third as the fire extended to 117 Oak Street, which is the adjacent building.
“The alleyway between the two buildings is less than three feet,” Welz says.
All occupants got out except an elderly man still on the first floor who was found unconscious.
“The firemen went in under extreme heat and smoke,” Welz says. “They administered first aid. Weehawken First Aid Squad arrived and continued first aid and transported him to Jersey City Medical Center, where he is in critical condition.”
Only the outside framing of 117 ignited.
“But 115 suffered severe fire damage – first, second floor, entirely gutted the rear of the building,” Welz says.
The township manager with the help of the Red Cross put up displaced residents and there were no firefighter injuries.
“Did an outstanding job considering the volume of fire on arrival that they were able to keep it out of the adjacent building, to the left – 113 and keeping the fire from getting any worse than 117,” Welz says.
The fire seemed to originate in the back of the first floor kitchen but arson experts are investigating.
“We don’t believe it’s suspicious at this point but we always try to determine the cause,” Welz says.
The six displaced residents from 115 won’t be able to return to that building anytime soon.
“Our construction official is determining whether the building can be saved, ‘cause there was a tremendous amount of fire damage,” Welz says.
And the people in charge are really pleased with the outcome.
According to Ahmad, the mayor and council were very impressed at how well the fire department took care of the situation.
“Along with our public safety departments – police, fire, EMS,” he says.