By Karen Zautyk
Seven persons were displaced last week when a three-alarm fire left their Dukes St. home uninhabitable, authorities reported. As of press time, the exact cause of the blaze was still under investigation.
Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl said the first alarm was called in at 5:37 p.m., Monday, Feb. 24, at a two-family, 2.5-story home at 58 Dukes St. In addition to the firstand second-floor apartments, Dyl said, there was another apartment in the basement.
The blaze is believed to have started in a first-floor bedroom. A woman resident of that apartment suffered smoke inhalation, was transported to Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, was treated and released.
The woman and the other six occupants of the home managed to escape without assistance, Dyl said, and were relocated with family members and friends.
There was severe damage to the entire wood-frame structure, but firefighters managed to contain the flames before they could engulf the house next door at 60 Dukes St. That second home, separated from the other only by a narrow alleyway, had some damage to the siding and roof, but this was said to be minor.
“The guys did a tremendous job of keeping the fire to one building,” Dyl said. This, despite hazardous icing conditions on the sidewalk and street.
All Kearny FD units responded to the scene along with the Harrison, Jersey City, North Arlington, East Newark and Belleville Fire Departments. North Hudson covered the town.
One Jersey City fireman reportedly suffered minor injuries when he fell down the stairs. He was treated at Jersey City Medical Center.
The fire was declared under control at 6:39 p.m., but KFD members remained at the scene for more than 20 hours as they attempted to determine the cause. The Division of Fire Safety is pursuing that investigation.
Although the human residents escaped the blaze, a cat and a dog did perish. However, thanks to the efforts of Kearny Firefighter Jed Schappert, another pet dog was saved.
Schappert found the canine, unresponsive and lying on its back, on a stairway to the top floor. He removed it from the smoke-filled home, placed it on the bumper of Engine 1, covered its snout with his oxygen mask and revived the pup.