IRVINGTON, N.J. — Flames could be seen shooting out of the third floor bedroom window of a multi-family home Tuesday afternoon in the pouring rain on Springfield Avenue in Irvington, New Jersey.
The cause was a lightning strike, according to the tenants who were inside the home at the time.
Vigo Philip says he owns the building, and was asleep in the first floor apartment, where his mother lives.
“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Philip said. “I have some guys that were working next door, they came and got me. They say that there was fire on the third floor, I had to get he second floor and the third floor, I had to get them out of the house.”
The family that lives in the second and third floor apartment did not want to go on camera. Their immediate concern was their damaged and likely destroyed belongings along with the open question of where would they sleep. As of 10 p.m., neither the city nor Red Cross had arrived to give the displaced temporary shelter.
The lightning strike tore a hole in the roof and the flames spread quickly. The response eventually rose to three alarms, with help needed from neighboring towns to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings.
Irvington Deputy Fire Chief Kaimu Suggs says a lightning strike caused at least one other fire at another location.
“It was heavy smoke on multiple sides of the structure. For the most part, the fire was at the rear of the structure, when they finally got in. We had multiple fires going, two on other blocks and this one came in as well,” said Chief Suggs, who called it a busy day.