Flames engulfed a luxury New Jersey apartment complex Wednesday, leaving hundreds displaced and causing nearby roads and schools to close.
The massive blaze, which started off as smoke from a unit at the Avalon on the Hudson, turned into a massive blaze that continued to burn 12 hours after it began.
— Steven Bognar (@Bogs4NY) January 22, 2015
The same complex was the scene of another large fire just 15 years earlier. That blaze burned the complex down as it was being built.
Four hundred are reportedly displaced. According to NBC New York, 160 people are being sheltered at a local community center with the help of the Office of Emergency Management and Red Cross.
“We left in what we had,” displaced resident Tamara Talbott said. “We got the kids and the dogs. Our cars are all underneath. There’s nothing left.”
The New York Post reports Yankees announcer John Sterling was among those displaced by the fire.
The cause of the fire, which was mostly contained late into Wednesday night, is unknown. A fire chief told NBC that lightweight wood construction could be a factor in how quickly the fire spread.
The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m., and the 408-unit building was quickly evacuated. After firefighters first responded, the fire appeared under control for some time, but it escalated in the back part of the complex, which responders had a hard time accessing.
The blaze then spread to the northern section of the building, engulfing multiple units. Flames and smoke could be seen from the top of Rockefeller Center, across the Hudson River. Thick plumes of smoke from the fire sent Chopper 4 over the scene to double its normal altitude — from about 1,500 feet to 3,000 feet.
The fire drew massive emergency response, with departments from Hudson, Bergen and Union counties working the fire. The FDNY and Jersey City’s fire department also responded with fireboats, helping to draw water from the Hudson River, officials said.
Tankers and engines attempted to fight the blaze from the exterior, and collapse zones were set up around the complex as the blaze tore down roofs.
There were no major injuries or fatalities reported.
SOURCE: NBC New York | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty