PATERSON, N.J. (PIX11) — It was a late night and busy morning for firefighters in Paterson.
The department was pulled in several directions after multiple fire emergencies unraveled across town late Wednesday into Thursday.
Firefighters first battled an aggressive fire at a vacant three-story structure on East 32nd Street near 12th Avenue at around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The building was completely destroyed. A burnt, toppled foundation and debris were all that remained at the scene. No injuries were reported.
Flames then ripped through the roof of a three-family home hours later. The fire broke out just before 4 a.m. on the corner of Slater and Marshall streets, fire officials said. The fast-moving four-alarm fire would then spread to a row of homes. A total of five houses were destroyed, leaving 30 people displaced.
“Out of the five buildings, three of them are completely destroyed,” Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott told PIX11 News. “We can’t let anybody in and we can’t even perform our investigation in the area.”
If that wasn’t enough, firefighters then had to race over to Interstate 80 to extinguish an out-of-control car fire just before 6 a.m., as it posed a threat to the morning commute.
What made this window of six hours in Paterson all the more stressful, was that some of the responding firefighters were on their first day on the job.
“You talk about stress and a new firefighter, well, welcome to the show,” McDermott said. “But our guys and gals are professionals, and we are used to dealing with this.”
Thankfully no injuries were reported in any of the emergencies. Investigations are now underway to determine what caused the house fires.
The American Red Cross is assisting those 30 people displaced with temporary housing.