New Jersey

Fire Tears Through Halfway House in Paterson, New Jersey

The fire broke out at the building on Straight Street, near Cedar Street, Saturday morning

A fire tore through a halfway house on Saturday morning in Paterson, New Jersey, sending dark smoke billowing into the air. 

The fire broke out at Straight & Narrow, a Catholic Charities halfway house on Straight Street, near Cedar Street, officials said. 

In a statement on Twitter, Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson said that none of its service recipients and staff were injured, noting that "over 200 service recipients are impacted by this fire." 

Officials didn't immediately provide any additional information about the fire. The fire was out late Saturday. 

Patricia Rizzo, who works as an employment specialist at the halfway house, told News 4 she was in her supervisor's office when they heard the smoke alarm go off. 

"We were nonchalant about it. We just thought it was a drill or something," Rizzo said. 

When they got outside, however, they saw flames through the window of a room on the first floor where clothing and shoe donations are kept, she said. By the time firefighters arrived, the building was engulfed in flames. 

"I just can't even believe this is happening," she said. "I feel like it's a death." 

"This was our home — this was a home for a lot of men," she added. "And we lost it today." 

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