Fire leads to traffic headaches

KEARNY —

Firefighters managed to knock down a two-alarm warehouse blaze within 50 minutes on May 20, but the location of the fire — at the busy intersection of Schuyler and Bergen Aves. — created more than a bit of a traffic problem on surrounding streets.

The timing — midafternoon on a Friday — was especially headache-inducing for those drivers who were hoping to get an early start on the weekend.

Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl said all KFD units, along with fire companies from Harrison and Jersey City, responded to the scene, a furniture warehouse at 301 Bergen Ave.  The call came in at 1:30 p.m., and the blaze was declared under control at 2:20, but crews did not leave the area until 4:20 p.m.

Dyl said it appeared that the fire had started at the roof level of the brick-and-wood structure and that workers had been performing maintenance on the building, but there was no immediate evidence of any connection. He said the cause is undetermined and remains under investigation.

The building, which stands about three-stories high, bears the name IS Furniture Rental Corp., but it is not known if that company is the current owner. 

Dyl said the warehouse was closed and unoccupied at the time. Photos of the interior show it contained stacks of plastic-covered cartons. The chief said that damage from the flames was moderate, but “there was a lot of smoke damage.”

An attached structure at 260 Schuyler Ave. was evacuated and also suffered smoke damage, but Dyl said there were no injuries. He also noted that at no time did the fire threaten the CVS property, directly across Bergen from the warehouse.

During the fire, Schuyler Ave. was reportedly closed from Bergen north to Duke St. Kearny police units handled traffic control there and on the other streets affected by the emergency.

While the KFD was on duty at the scene, the North Arlington and Belleville FDs provided coverage to Kearny.

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent