6-Alarm NJ Fire Displaces Families, Injures Firefighters

Monday, Mar 11, 2013  |  Updated 8:50 PM EDT
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After a large fire in Harrison, N.J. devastated a building and injured firefighters over the weekend, there's renewed scrutiny on cutbacks -- not just in Harrison but in most communities with paid fire departments. Brian Thompson reports.

NBC 4 New York

After a large fire in Harrison, N.J. devastated a building and injured firefighters over the weekend, there's renewed scrutiny on cutbacks -- not just in Harrison but in most communities with paid fire departments. Brian Thompson reports.

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6-Alarm NJ Fire Displaces Families, Injures Firefighters

A witness filmed this video of a backdraft explosion at a fire in Harrison, N.J., that left five firefighters injured and several families homeless. Watch for the explosion at approximately 20 seconds into the video.
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Five firefighters were hurt and several families were displaced after a six-alarm fire erupted in a two-story New Jersey building Sunday, sending flames leaping from the roof amid thick black smoke that could be seen for miles.

Authorities say the fire broke out around 11 a.m. in a Harrison building with a restaurant on the ground floor and spread to a two-story residential building. More than 80 firefighters responded, including companies from neighboring towns.

According to Harrison Fire Captain Robert Gillen, five firefighters were hurt in a backdraft explosion while fighting the blaze and were taken to Jersey City Medical Center. Four of the five injured firefighters had been released from the hospital by Monday. None of the injuries were believed to be life-threatening.
 
The residential building adjoining the one where the fire erupted was evacuated and occupants were taken to a nearby senior center, officials said. None of the residents were hurt.

A spokeswoman for the New Jersey Red Cross said the organization was assisting 17 people displaced by the fire.

Officials believe the fire likely started in the kitchen of the restaurant on the building's ground floor, but the cause of the blaze remains under investigation. The mayor of Harrison said the building would have to be demolished.
 
A St. Patrick's day parade in Harrison had to be rerouted because of the fire.

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