Passaic, NJ -- A six-alarm fire ripped through a five-story apartment building in NJ and 200 people were displaced on Easter weekend.
Firefighters from Passaic and Bergen county fire companies reported to the scene of the six-alarm blaze. It began at 1 pm on Saturday. The crews battled the fire for five hours by the time it became under control. Scanner reports showed that hot spots persisted in the 40-unit building.
Residents evacuated and stayed at the high school down the street. Red Cross volunteers were on hand to help the victims and find alternative housing.
"We're instructing everyone in the community to report to the gym at the high school to get an accurate headcount and make sure everyone is okay," said Mayor Hector Lora.
A witness, Kathryn Veras, who lives in her fifth-floor apartment with her family said, "My boyfriend smelled something burning and we saw smoke in the hallway. Then the super knocked down the door of another apartment and black smoke came out and we got out."
Only minor injuries were reported, and a triage center was set up at the scene.
"The fire is very labor intensive. At one point, we were inside and the fire got so intense we were unable to knock it back and had to back out. Right now we're just trying to contain it to this building and not have it spread," said Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost.
This was the third fire in Passaic in the last few weeks.
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