A three-alarm fire that engulfed a two-story building at 293 Broadway and did significant damage to the building next door at 295 Broadway on Monday night injured two people and displaced several families, said Fire Chief Greg Rogers.
When fire fighters arrived at the scene they found heavy smoke and flames coming out the second floor of 293 Broadway which housed apartments on the second floor and a pizzeria on the first floor.
Residents of the two buildings – four adults and two children – apparently fled the building after the explosion. One 27-year-old man, who suffered burns on his hands and face, was transported to Jersey City Medical Center. Another resident, 26-year-old man was treated for smoke inhalation, Rogers said.
Rogers said the fire is under investigation but is believed to have started on the second floor after witnesses reported smelling natural gas and hearing an explosion.
“A witness heard a loud bang around 10:10 p.m.,” said Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell.
Rogers said the fire spread out the bathroom window and soon spread to the three-story building next door doing extensive fire damage to the upper floors and extensive water and smoke damage to Harry’s Wine Cellar on the first floor.
Rogers said the lack of windows of the second and third floors made this a difficult fire to fight, because it both bottled up the heat and smoke, as well as left no opening for the hoses to administer water. The fire spread to the second building – which was only inches away – through the cockloft.
Jersey City Fire Department gave mutual aid to Bayonne, O’Donnell said, noting that the city’s building department is evaluating the condition of the building.
For information on donations to the victims of this fire, see page 3. – By Al Sullivan