Authorities: Fire that destroyed 4 homes in Jersey City deemed suspicious

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Authorities say a fast-moving fire that destroyed four homes in Jersey City appears to be suspicious.

The fire broke out around 4 a.m. Friday near a home on Wade Street and quickly spread to three other nearby residences. Authorities say the flames apparently were being fed by a leaky natural gas line. At least 40 people were left homeless due to the fire, but there were no reports of serious injuries.

Firefighters had to deal with hoarding conditions in some of the homes, where squatters apparently were staying, along with strong, gusty winds that hampered their efforts.

Two firefighters were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and returned to work.

Jersey City’s fire chief tells News 12 New Jersey that it seems that the fire was started under suspicious means. The cause is under investigation.

The American Red Cross says that it is helping 44 people from 15 different families who need shelter, food and clothing after escaping the fire.

“A majority of those people walked out with what they have on their back…we hope to have everyone relocated by the end of the day,” says Jersey City OEM director Greg Kierce.

Officials say that they are hoping to put the displaced into nearby hotels.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has been briefed and is monitoring the process, according to Kierce.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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