Dozens left homeless after Union City fire

Dozens left homeless after Union City fire (1/24/14)

UNION CITY - More than 60 people have been left without a place to live after an overnight fire ripped through two Union City apartment buildings.

The six-alarm fire broke out in a 19th Street building just before midnight. Firefighters were hampered by bitter cold temperatures that quickly froze water used to douse the flames. The hurdles caused them to take over six hours to control the fire.

North Hudson Fire Chief Michael Cranwell says a rehab area was set up and crews were rotated during the firefighting effort to keep them refreshed.

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The fire spread to and damaged a third building on the street and also caused power outages at several adjacent buildings when water flooded and froze in the basements.

Fire officials say the Red Cross has been called to help those who have been displaced by the fire. They are housing the affected residents at a nearby school and say they will be moved to hotels.

"These are families that are extremely poor," says Mayor Brian Stack. "They don't have much and they're starting over brand new.  Most of the apartments were destroyed."

A few minor injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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