Apartment fire on Gregory Avenue in Passaic displaces hundreds

Wednesday night's multi-alarm fire in Passaic has displayed hundreds of residents.

Wednesday night's multi-alarm fire in Passaic has displayed hundreds of residents. (10/22/15)

PASSAIC - A fire at a Passaic apartment building displaced hundreds of residents Wednesday night.

The multi-alarm fire started just before 9 p.m. Wednesday at the apartment building on Gregory Avenue. Firefighters worked to put out the flames until 2 a.m. Thursday.

Investigators say the fire started in apartment 5G, but they are still working to determine the cause.

When firefighters arrived, many of the tenants were out on the fire escapes trying to get out of the building.

"Every fire escape was filled with victims, so all our resources were out toward rescuing and removing all victims,” says Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost.

The ceiling collapsed inside during the rescue, and one firefighter suffered third-degree burns.  He and the other two firefighters who were also hurt are all said to be OK.

Red Cross of North Jersey officials were also on the scene, assisting those forced out of their homes. They say they are helping as many as 60 families. Some had a place to stay, but about a dozen others were put up in hotels. The Red Cross spent Thursday getting food, clothing, financial assistance and medication for those families.

William King, a resident of the building, says the building's fire alarms malfunctioned.

"I pulled three alarms on three floors and none of the alarms went off ... and because of that, we have nothing," says King.

Chief Trentacost says it is too early to tell whether or not the alarm system was actually working.

Many residents were back at the building Thursday to gather some of their belongings.

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