Five-alarm fire tears through North Bergen building, displaces 12 families

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NORTH BERGEN — A five alarm fire displaced 12 families after tearing through a multi-unit residence on 26th Street Friday, according to North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) Battalion Chief Mark Lorenz, speaking at the scene.

According to NHRFR spokesman Dan Knitzer,, the fire broke out at 1200 26th Street just before 11:45 a.m. Frigid wind and rain conditions contributed to it becoming a five-alarm blaze, Knitzer said.

Officials safely evacuated everyone in 1200 and two buildings next door, Knitzer said. However, one firefighter was treated for a minor burn, he said. The 1200 building sustained structural damage, Knitzer said.

“We have no idea how it started,” Lorenz said around 3 p.m., when the fire had already been fully extinguished,

“Right now, we have one building with serious damage,” he said. “We have a minor extension into the building next door. There was some damage there.”

First responders from Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, West New York, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office and even Kearny offered help at the scene.

“The Township of North Bergen is working closely with the American Red Cross and NB CARES to get any families affected into hotels and get them the supplies needed as soon as possible,” said North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco, in a statement.

“All students whose homes were affected by the fire will be brought to the downtown library for reunification and parent pick up.” The town also ordered lunch for the residents while the North Bergen Police Department secured the area and North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue battled the fire, Sacco said.

Local community assistance program NB CARES. is also offering assistance to the affected families, according to NB CARES coordinator Aimee Focaraccio.

“I just saw a lot of smoke coming from the next building,” said Alex Garcia, who resides in the 1210 26h St. building next door, after his safe evacuation. He said he left the building at 12:30 p.m., but was not sure whether or not his apartment was safe. “Not to my knowledge,” he said.