WEST NEW YORK, New Jersey (AP) — Eight firefighters were injured battling a Thanksgiving night fire that displaced more than a dozen residents in West New York, New Jersey, officials said.
WABC-TV reports that the fire was in an apartment above a pharmacy on Bergenline Avenue at 53rd Street. Video showed flames billowing from the building.
Neighbors had to evacuate their homes when the building two doors down on Bergenline Avenue collapsed.
An explosion caused the roof to cave with firefighters on top of it, sending eight of them to the hospital with injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to broken bones, North Hudson fire officials said.
“I got a call that we had three members missing, we had a mayday and your heart just drops,” West New York Fire Chief David Donnarumma said. It was not immediately clear if the three missing were accounted for.
Donnarumma said the explosion happened as firefighters were battling flames shooting out the windows of the three-story corner building. The blast turned the building next to it into rubble.
“It’s a sad day for the township of West New York. They with their residents, cause people are displaced, they lost their residences and lost their belongings, ” he said. “It’s a difficult day for the firefighters, not because we had to work but because of the injuries. Now their families will be suffering as well. ”
Firefighters were able to get everyone out, rescuing several residents. Others were able to escape on their own.
The fire was contained but 20 people were displaced. The Red Cross said they were assisting at least 10 families.
The cause of the fire and explosion is under investigation.
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