New Jersey

Inferno Destroys Strip of Businesses in NJ, Injures 6 Firefighters: Official

Gas and grease in a restaurant's kitchen helped fuel the blaze

What to Know

  • An inferno destroyed a row of businesses at a New Jersey strip mall late Tuesday, firefighters say
  • The blaze broke out around 10:30 p.m. in Passaic on Lexington Avenue and completely leveled restaurants, salons and a travel agency
  • Six firefighters were hurt battling the blaze, but the injuries are said to all be minor

An inferno raged out of control as it chewed its way through a half-dozen businesses in New Jersey late Tuesday, while also injuring six firefighters, officials say.

The blaze broke out around 10:30 p.m. at the El Chèvere restaurant at a strip mall on Lexington Avenue, between Monroe and Quincy streets in Passaic, the Passaic Fire Department said. At least six businesses are completely destroyed, Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said. 

The injuries to the firefighters are considered to be minor, Trentacost said. They have all been treated and released.

Firefighters said the fire started in the restaurant's kitchen and quickly spread to the other businesses, sending the flames shooting through the roof of the strip mall.

Video from the scene shows a Chifa Wing Wah restaurant, two salons and a travel agency among some of the damaged businesses. At least four of the businesses caved in as the fire raged, Chopper4 video shows.

The fire quickly went up to six-alarms, according to a nearly 30-minute Facebook Live with Mayor Hector Carlos Lora. Officials said the fire was under control around 3 a.m., but it was that it was still smoldering. 

Gas and grease in the kitchen helped fuel the blaze. Trentacost said it's not considered suspicious, but the exact cause it still under investigation.

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