Wind, Black Ice Challenge Firefighters in NJ Inferno

It took firefighters hours to knock out a large fire that tore through mixed-use commercial and residential buildings in Bayonne Tuesday evening and displaced a dozen families. 

It's not clear how the blaze started at around 4:30 p.m. inside a clock store on the 700 block of Broadway, but it quickly spread next door to a bar and deli, then tore up through the building, sending flames shooting through the roof and black smoke billowing into the air. 

"And all of the sudden I see the flames shooting up in the air," witness Robert Niebank said. 

The icy conditions made an already tough job even more challenging for the dozens of firefighters who responded.

"I can't tell you how many guys went down on the ice," said Fire Chief Greg Rogers. "There's black ice pretty much everywhere."  

As the blaze grew, firefighters embarked on a so-called surround-and-drown mission, trying to contain the flames and prevent the fire from spreading to a third building. Three ladder units were used to douse the flames from above.

The fire was out by late evening. In all, 12 families were displaced, according to the Red Cross. 

Rogers said no one was injured in the blaze, though a firefighter was briefly trapped on the third floor of one of the buildings. The firefighter was able to make his way out of the smoke-filled inferno to an elevated ladder bucket near one of the windows 

A dog and a rabbit were rescued from the homes. The dog, a 5-year-old miniature poodle named Millie, was reunited with its owner, a woman who earlier had been distraught as she spoke to NBC 4 about her missing pet.

The woman cried she held her rescued dog again in her arms. 

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