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Massive fire tears through Fort Lee apartment building

Posted at 8:10 PM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 20:11:30-05

FORT LEE, N.J. — Firefighters battled for hours Thursday extinguishing a massive fire in an apartment building in Fort Lee, New Jersey, authorities said. reports the fire started around 4 p.m. and says flames and smoke were seen shooting out of every floor by 7:30 p.m. PIX11's AIR 11 showed the blaze continuing to tear through the five-story building at 8 p.m.

"I saw smoke that was very thick and within a matter of a couple of minutes it was completely engulfed in smoke, so I just ran through the staircase, down to outside," said Manuel Barrantes, a resident of the building.

Fort Lee Police confirmed the location of the fire on Twitter as Edwin Avenue near Linwood Plaza, which is just a few miles from the George Washington Bridge.

"Because of the structure of the building and its architectural component, [it] spread very quickly," Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich said.

"As far as Fort Lee residents, displaced families, please go to the Fort Lee Senior Center. Food, everything has been arranged for you. You will have a home tonight – That's guaranteed," Sokolich added.

Cindy Cwiebel, a resident of the burning building told PIX, "A bunch of us called 911 and I said 'get out of the apartment, get out of the building.' They're trying to keep it away from 30-01, but the other building that's attached to us is gone."