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Fire destroys apartments, popular bookstore in Clifton

Posted at 7:30 PM, Jun 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-03 17:57:29-04

CLIFTON, N.J. (PIX11) — Officials in Clifton, New Jersey are investigating  the cause of a fierce and fast moving fire that destroyed apartments, one business and threatened others on Dayton Avenue Saturday night.

One man trapped in his apartment could be seen by a window at the fire escape.

“He kept knocking and saying stuff.  He didn’t speak English so people kept trying to translate, and once the fire department located him, they got him,” said Lenny Torres who recorded video of the fire with his father after they  got out of their apartment safely.

The man who was rescued suffered burns and was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Paterson.   A firefighter was also injured.  He sustained a strained knee.


Sixteen companies from several counties responded to the fire which broke out at 11:40 p.m. Saturday, and grew to five alarms, according to Deputy Chief Mike Sauer.

“The fire had deteriorated the buildings to the point where there was a collapse.  So they went to defensive operation.  We had four or five tower ladders,” said Sauer.

A group of second floor apartments collapsed into the popular Polish bookstore Ksiegarnia.  The entire building will be demolished.

Burned and water soaked books were strewn across the parking lot, leaving customers like Elizabeth Bokowska very upset.

“It’s terrible, it’s terrible,” she said.

The Red Cross is working with people forced out of their homes  with no place to go.  At least 20 people were displaced.