LINDEN, NJ (PIX11) — Six people working at a New Jersey food commissary escaped from a massive 3-alarm fire that broke out early Tuesday morning.
Fire officials say six people were working inside the World Class Kitchens commissary –a company owned by Saker ShopRites, Inc. that prepares meat and deli products for 39 ShopRite stores in New Jersey– when the fire broke out just after midnight. AIR11 was above the scene as flames tore through the building.
“In this area of the building is where they do a lot of the cooking, and that’s kind of in the area where it started,” Chief William Hasko of Linden Fire Department said.
One employee who tried to put out the flames was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but is going to be OK, officials said. Everyone else made it out safely, but a roof collapse made it a tough fight for firefighters.
“The open void between the roof and the cooking area and the cooler boxes… the fire got into there,” Hasko said. “We couldn’t get it from below, got to wait until it burned through the roof, that was about four hours later. It collapsed, the roof, so a large amount of smoke and fire.”
Jade Settle, who works at a store across the street, witnessed the fire.
“It was like up in flames,” Settle said. “The center of the building up from to the back of the building, the whole bridge covered in water, it was terrible. It was dark out and the sun was coming up and it was still clouds of smoke to the point where you couldn’t see the sunrise.”
Settle says the people who work at World Class Kitchens are regulars at her store. She’s thankful, because it could have been a lot worse.
“It’s so close to like a gas station, a small neighborhood, you never know,” Settle said.
Saker ShopRites, Inc. told PIX11 in a statement they are thankful everyone working the overnight shift was evacuated safely and grateful to Linden Fire and all of the first responders. The company said those who worked here will have positions at other ShopRite stores and commissaries. When asked how this fire would impact their ShopRite stores’ meat supply, especially right before Christmas, the spokesperson said they are confident they’ll supply those ShopRite stores with other facilities.