‘It’s like a nightmare.’ Fire destroys West New York apartment building; 41 families displaced

A fire at an apartment building in West New York has displaced 41 families and left the building uninhabitable.

News 12 Staff

Dec 2, 2022, 12:20 PM

Updated 595 days ago

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A fire at an apartment building in West New York has displaced 41 families and left the building uninhabitable.
The fire on 55th Street started around 5 p.m. Thursday in the basement of the building – underneath the bodega that is also a part of the building. The fire was so intense and burned for so many hours that the residents will never be allowed to return.
The bodega's windows were blown out, and the interior is black from the smoke and flames. The flames ran up and through all four floors of the building. The destruction was so intense that the roof collapsed. The building will need to be demolished.
"The exterior walls have been compromised. It was a fire that was unfortunately fed with gas,” says the fire chief says. "There are approximately 100 displaced occupants."
Firefighters had to rescue some residents on the top floors of the building.
Jimmy Perez lives in the building next to the one that caught fire. He was also forced to leave his home.
“It’s terrible what happened. For me, it’s like a nightmare,” Perez says.
Perez was waiting Friday afternoon for his turn to be escorted inside his building to retrieve clothes and documents. Families are being allowed back in floor by floor, each packing as much as they could.
"I left all of my papers up there. My medicine, my wallet. Everything I own I need to get it because I need to get surgery on the 30th,” Perez says.
Perez will be staying with his daughter. But others are not as fortunate and stayed at a hotel Thursday night in Secaucus. Those families are being helped by West New York and the American Red Cross.
"We have 18 families that stayed here last night. That's a mixture of families impacted by the fire itself and some of those families were evacuated from an adjacent building,” says Sheri Ferreria, of the American Red Cross.
The Red Cross will make sure families have food and money for clothing. And then, with the help of the Red Cross, the city and the building owner, they'll start to look for a new home.


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