Forty-five people lost their homes in a fast-moving fire that destroyed five attached townhouses in Perth Amboy, N.J. Friday.
The fire broke out on West Side Avenue near Meredith Street at about 3:30 p.m., consuming a row of homes. The flames were fueled by wind, making it difficult for firefighters to put out quickly. Firefighters were still battling hotspots though the night, finally getting the fire under control by mid-morning Saturday.
Craig Grant, who lived in one of the destroyed homes, said he tried to help put out the fire as it first consumed his neighbor's home. After a point, there was nothing he could do but watch.
"We kicked the door into the house, and the whole basement was filled with black smoke," he said. "His rear deck was on fire, my sun room was starting to be on fire. I couldn't even go out there. And then I just came out here, and the fire trucks came, and I just watched. There was nothing else I could do."
"I worked my life for everything that's in there," he said.
The loss was made more difficult by the fact that it was the night before Grant's wife's 40th birthday.
"This is what I get for making it to 40," said Shelley Lawrence. "This is terrible."
No injuries were reported in the fire. A spokeswoman for Red Cross said 11 families were displaced.