What to Know
A four-alarm fire fueled by natural gas raged out of control in Jersey City Friday morning; it's considered suspicious
Four homes were totally destroyed by the fire; residents had to scramble to get out but all did safely; 2 firefighters had smoke inhalation
16 families were displaced; the Red Cross is assisting them
A four-alarm fire fueled by natural gas raged out of control in Jersey City Friday morning, setting at least four homes ablaze, along with a car, and forcing dozens of residents to scramble for safety in the dark.
Authorities say it's believed to be suspicious, given the time of day, where it started and the amount of fire involved.
Witnesses at the scene told News 4 they heard popping sounds and smelled smoke. Then flames erupted around 4:30 a.m., devouring the buildings on Wade Street within hours. One witness said it appeared everyone had gotten out safely, though officials said two firefighters suffered smoke inhalation.
Live footage from Chopper 4 over the scene showed huge plumes of thick smoke billowing from a row of homes in the area of Wade Street and Rutgers Avenue. New York City's emergency management team warned people in the five boroughs they might smell or see smoke as firefighters worked to douse the blaze.
Authorities said the fire started between two homes and spread, though the exact cause remains under investigation. There were reports of people yelling before the fire started, the local chief said at the scene, and the potential role of that argument, if any, is part of the investigation.
A man who lived in one of the houses on Wade Street lost almost everything he owns in the fire that he said started in the house next to his.
All four buildings engulfed by flames were totally destroyed, leaving 44 families in 15 families displaced, officials said. The Red Cross has been notified, and those who were displaced were taken to a temporary shelter.