New Jersey C-Town Supermarket Gutted in Massive Blaze, 2nd in 4 Months

A C-Town supermarket in New Jersey poised to reopen after undergoing renovations from a January fire has been gutted in an even larger blaze Monday evening. 

Flames could at first be seen bursting out of the shattered glass storefront of the supermarket on Bordentown Avenue in South Amboy before the fire escalated to five alarms and spread through the brick building. Plumes of black smoke billowed high into the air and bright orange flames shot through the roof.

Multiple fire trucks from neighboring towns swarmed the area and the emergency response caused traffic backups when Route 35 northbound closed at Bordentown Avenue. 

The supermarket sits at the bottom of a hill, where low water pressure forced crews to stretch out fire hose from as far as a half-mile away.

"We knew this was going to be an issue with water," said South Amboy Fire Chief Mike Geraltowski. Eventually, the responding crews had to resign to a defensive approach. 

It was the town's first five-alarm fire in decades, and the second fire at the same supermarket in less than four months. In January, a three-alarm electrical fire forced the store to shut down for renovations, according to store employee Amanda Ortega. The store was supposed to reopen sometime next month. 

Neighbors watched helplessly as they watched the only supermarket in town go up in flames. 

"Ashes were falling all over the place," said Richard Schnyderite. "The smoke came down the street, you can barely see down the street."

South Amboy Mayor Fred Henry called it a "family tragedy" for the town. 

It's not clear what caused the massive blaze. The fire chief said he didn't know if there were crews working construction there at the time of the fire. 

No injuries were reported in the fire. 

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