On Tuesday, February 18th, a fast moving 5-alarm fire ripped through a multi-family home in Weehawken. The fire began on the first floor of the three story building and soon engulfed the entire structure. A total of 11 individuals were displaced and at least two adjacent buildings were damaged by smoke and water. As many as 75 firefighters responded to the fire and a police officer who entered the building to check for occupants was hospitalized due to smoke inhalation. Thanks to the courageous actions of the first responders and a fire alarm that sounded, no lives were lost, however for the families who lived in the affected homes the property lost in this blaze and the time it will take for them to recoup makes this a sad reminder of how vulnerable homes, residents and first responders truly are to the ravages of fire.
While smoke alarms are an effective way to alert residents of a fire, they require residents to take action and can do nothing to prevent the spread of fire or extinguish it entirely. Our most vulnerable citizens including children, the elderly and the disabled may not be able to respond to alarms as others might. Fire sprinklers are the only form of proactive fire protection and can protect lives and property by immediately reacting to a fire incident. I urge you to check the batteries in your smoke alarms and learn how to protect yourself, your loved ones and your community from the dangers of fire. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been affected by this tragedy.
Executive Director New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board