Fairfield fire that destroyed 4 businesses reignited 5 times, officials say
Four Fairfield businesses have been reduced to rubble by a Sunday morning fire that reignited just 12 hours after the initial flames started.
Fire crews say they first responded to the fire on Ray Place around 2:45 a.m. They spent hours tackling the flames in the residential area. There were no injuries, and no homes were damaged.
According to officials, the building caught on fire five times in the past 36 hours. Fairfield police say the ground is still hot from the most recent fire.
A fire destroyed a commercial building in Fairfield and four businesses have been damaged. (Photo: Isabel Litterst/News 12 New Jersey)
"It took them about four hours to get the fire under control from the time they were dispatched and got here around 3 a.m.,” said Stacy Chiarolanza, the Fairfield Police Department public information officer. “It's a lot of work, a lot of clean up, and a lot of people that don't have their businesses now."
Paul Chichelo, owner of Complete Garages, said he's devastated and shocked about the news of the fire.
"It was my life. I've been doing this so long. I don't know where I'm going to go from here. Just see what happens with the investigation and wait to hear what they find out," he said.
A viewer sent News 12 New Jersey drone video of the scene as the building burned. It took water cannons and a full-force effort from firefighters to put out the first fire. Firefighters returned when the fire rekindled for a second time at 2 p.m. The second fire led to a total building collapse.
Ed Puchalski owns the shop next door to where the fire ignited. He says his daughter saw the fire and sent him a picture.
"I thought it was my business," he said. "The cameras were focused that way. I thought the flames were coming out of my roof."
Puchalski says the tenants next door are in for a rough recovery.
"[Officials] said no one was displaced from this fire. I think there's a lot of people displaced. These guys that come to work every day. They don't have a place to go now,” he said.
News 12 reached out to the property owners but have not heard back yet. Officials say they are now turning their focus to the investigation, but they're not ruling out the possibility that the fire might still rekindle.