47 Left Homeless in Devastating Perth Amboy Fire

Forty-seven people, including 10 children, were left homeless by the five-alarm blaze, which was reported around 3:45 a.m. Sunday

By Jonathan Vigliotti and Ida Siegal
|  Monday, Jun 4, 2012  |  Updated 9:48 AM EDT
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At least four buildings were destroyed and more than 40 people were left homeless after a massive early morning fire in Perth Amboy, N.J. Sunday. Here is raw video from the scene.

NBC New York

At least four buildings were destroyed and more than 40 people were left homeless after a massive early morning fire in Perth Amboy, N.J. Sunday. Here is raw video from the scene.

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A massive fire destroyed several buildings in Perth Amboy, N.J. early Sunday morning, leaving 47 people homeless.

Firefighters were called to the 600 block of Cortlandt Street at about 3:45 a.m. and were faced with a fire so intense, it was initially difficult to contain with water, according to Perth Amboy Fire Chief David Volk.

"I couldn't stand across the street and look at the building, that's how intense the fire was," he said.

Forty-seven people, including 10 children, were left homeless by the five-alarm blaze, which was reported around 3:45 a.m. Sunday. Two residents — a father and son — initially were unaccounted for, but authorities later learned they weren't home when the fire occurred.

A couple and their baby daughter suffered burns and were hospitalized in serious but stable condition Sunday afternoon. Further details on their injuries were not disclosed.

Three buildings -- 658, 660 and 662 -- burned and collapsed in the fire. Another, 656, is a "complete loss," according to Volk, but still partially standing. Building 654 sustained water damage.

Five buildings across Cortlandt Street sustained radiant heat damage.

Jose Nunez, a father who lived in one of the buildings that collapsed, sobbed as he described losing his home and property.

"He lost everything," his nephew Miguel Nunez told NBC 4 New York, translating from Spanish. "He lost everything in the backyard, everything they brought back from the Dominican Republic on vacation."

Most of the displaced residents were taken to a shelter set up at a school. Some later left to stay with family and friends, but Red Cross officials said many people would likely be spending the night at the shelter.

It took about 75 firefighters from 11 fire departments to battle the fire.

Officials are investigating the cause of the fire.

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