A cooking-related fire last week in an apartment at 51 Belgrove Drive forced the evacuation of the entire 12-family building, Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl reported.
The accidental blaze broke out at 10:14 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 14. Damage was limited to the kitchen of the thirdfloor apartment in which it started, but as a precaution all residents were temporarily removed from the brick structure.
The blaze was brought under control within 15 minutes, and no injuries were reported, Dyl said.
The occupants of the apartment in which the fire began were relocated with friends, but all other residents were permitted to return to their homes.
According to Kearny Police Chief John Dowie, the first person on the scene was KPD Sgt. Robert Maguire, who had been off-duty and at Kmart on Passaic Ave. when the alarm came in. He went to the address and began evacuating the tenants.
During the fire, the Harrison FD was on standby, and the Jersey City FD covered Kearny.
Dyl said smoke alarms played a critical role in alerting residents to the danger in this blaze and two other recent fires. “Once again, this emphasizes the importance of having working smoke alarms in your home,” he noted.
The other fires both occurred Jan. 9.
At 4:30 a.m., there was a one-alarm blaze in a vacant former warehouse/office under demolition at 590 Belleville Turnpike. All Kearny units responded; Jersey City covered the town.
At 7:15 p.m., the KFD responded to a one-alarm fire in a single-family home at 403 Forest St. Dyl said damage was confined to the basement, with minor extension to the first floor. The residents were allowed to reoccupy the house.
All available Kearny units responded, along with Harrison and East Newark. “During this fire, we had units operating at a fire in Bayonne,” Dyl noted.
Both of the Jan. 9 fires appeared to be accidental, and there were no injuries in either, the chief said.
– Karen Zautyk