Displaced Irvington families try to piece their lives together after early morning fire

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IRVINGTON, N.J. — A long night of battling morphed into a long day of clean-up.

The scene along the north end of Florence Avenue in Irvington was one of workers shoveling charred debris.

It was all the result of a four-alarm fire that damaged a half-dozen businesses and residential units housed above them, "The whole street was filled with smoke.  It was filled with smoke.  I watched the whole thing out here. The people out here, the fire department, everybody was filled with smoke," said Donovin Stamps who saw the scene unfold from his home across the street.

The business most impacted was a sports bar at the end of a tiny row of businesses. The Irvington Fire Department saying the fire appears to have started on the first floor of the business.

"Fire, fire, fire," is the first thing that Mary Adams heard.  She lives just a few feet from where the fire ignited.  A view of the damage from a second floor window provided some perspective on what the scene must have been like, "The fire was coming right to the window where we live."

The heat was so close and intense, Adams envisioned only the worst, "I thought we were going to be homeless, but thank God, you know, we're still here."

She wasn't alone.

The floor above them may have been damaged, but Saint Anne's Restaurant was still able to open for business.  The owner telling PIX11 News that she was very fortunate.

Suzette McMillan who got out before the flames damaged her unit says she was fortunate to have her loved ones alive, "I'm just glad my family safe.  I'm just a little overwhelmed."

The fire remains under investigation with members of The Essex County Prosecutors Office, Irving Police and the Irvington Fire Department's Arson Unit trying to determine the exact cause of the fire.

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