Raging Armory Blaze Shuts Down Half a Dozen Tri-State Schools

Six schools in New Jersey are closed Tuesday as firefighters work to put out a raging blaze that started Monday night at an abandoned building and escalated to seven alarms by the next morning.

Administrators in Paterson said Eastside High School, New Roberto Clemente Middle School, Robert Clemente Elementary School, Public School 15, Public School 11 and Madison Avenue Pre-Kindergarten are all closed as firefighters try to get a handle on the inferno tearing through the abandoned Paterson Armory. 

About 200 firefighters were working to extinguish the fire that started just before 11:30 p.m. on Market Street, according to officials. 

Thermal imaging cameras show the heaviest portions of the blaze are in the building’s basement 20 to 25 feet below ground, said Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino.

The flames spread to the roof Tuesday morning and smoke from the blaze settled over the city. Residents who live across the street from the armory have been offered temporary shelter because of the heavy smoke.

Postorino said the fire department was using about 5,000 gallons of water per minute to extinguish the flames.

One firefighter suffered a minor back injury, officials said.

The Paterson Armory was built in 1896, but it hasn't been in use since 1990. 

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