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Category: News Alerts

BREAKING: Youtube video shows violent backdraft that injured firefighters at Harrison fire

Fire forces residents from Warren Street homes in Harrison

By Ron Leir
Observer correspondent

HARRISON —

Residents from five attached buildings on Warren Street in Harrison were evacuated from their homes Monday night, Feb. 25, after a fire ignited in the cockloft of 209 Warren St. and quickly spread to the adjoining structures, officials said.

No injuries were reported in the four-alarm blaze that started shortly after 7 p.m. and took several hours to quell.

Ultimately, occupants of 201, 203 and 211 Warren St. were allowed back in their apartments but 205, 207 and 209 Warren St. were tagged by Town Construction Official Rocco Russomanno as unfit for habitation because of damage to the properties.

Harrison Fire Director Harold Stahl characterized the cause of the fire as “accidental,” based on an investigation by Fire Official George Kondek.

Stahl said members of the Harrison Fire Department “did one fantastic job” containing the fast-spreading fire, with a big assist from firefighters from East Newark, Kearny and Jersey City. The Secaucus Volunteer Fire Department provided stand-by help at local firehouses.

Stahl also credited members of the Harrison Police Department with assisting firefighters with getting everyone safely out of their apartments as the fire began to escalate. He also thanked the Harrison Public Works Department for providing a shuttle bus to transport displaced residents to an emergency shelter at the Harrison Senior Center.

Be sure to check the March 6 edition of The Observer for more details on the fire.

BREAKING: Major fire in Harrison

We’re gathering the details of a major fire on Warren Street in Harrison this evening. In the interim, here is video footage of the fire that was uploaded to Youtube. Please check back for more details.

 

BREAKING: Pennsylvania man arrested, charged with murdering Alishia Colon

Cruz Martinez Jr.

Cruz Martinez Jr.

A 41-year-old Pennsylvania man has been arrested and is being held on $10 million cash-only bail in connection with the Thursday murder of 16-year-old Kearny girl Alishia Colon, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said this weekend.

Cruz Martinez Jr., of 348 West 14th St., Hazelton, Pa., was charged with murder late Saturday evening, Acting Hudson County Prosecutor Gaetano T. Gregory said.

On Saturday, Martinez was arrested in Pennsylvania by authorities there on an unrelated open warrant from Pennsylvania, the prosecutor’s office said. Later that same day, Martinez was charged by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office with first-degree murder, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of firearm for an unlawful purpose, the prosecutor’s office said.

Martinez is currently being held in a Pennsylvania jail, awaiting extradition proceedings, Gregory said.

The prosecutor’s homicide detectives, along with Kearny police, are actively continuing the investigation for other possible suspects.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office’s Homicide Unit at (201) 915-1345 or hcpotips@hcpo.org. All communications are kept confidential.

BREAKING: 16-year-old Kearny girl shot, killed on Belgrove Drive Thursday night

Alishia Colon

Alishia Colon

 

KEARNY —

A 16-year-old Kearny High School student was shot in the head and died from those wounds in her Belgrove Drive Home Thursday night, according to reports.

The victim was identified as Alishia Colon, according to reports.

Reports say Colon recently turned 16.

A fight took place earlier yesterday in the area of the shooting involving some of the victim’s relatives, according to the HCPO. The HCPO says it is trying to determine whether there is a connection to the incident and the shooting.

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office says that around 6:20 p.m. last night, Kearny police were called to 253 Belgrove Drive — and when they arrived, police found Colon dead in her bedroom.

Reports also say a 37-year-old Belleville man — identified as Edwin Mendez Jr. — was arrested in relation to the fight and charged with unlawful possession of a gun and making terroristic threats. It’s not immediately clear whether there is a connection to the shooting, however.

The Hudson County Prosecutor’s office is working with the Kearny Police Department on the investigation. Neither a suspect nor motive have yet been identified, the prosecutor’s office says.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the prosecutor’s office at 201-915-1345 or send an e-mail to hcpotips@hcpo.org. All reports are kept confidential.

Mayor Alberto G. Santos released the following statement earlier today:

“The Kearny Police Department is diligently working with the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office in the homicide investigation.  We are utilizing all available resources to apprehend the individual responsible for this tragic death.  We will leave no stone unturned until we bring this individual to justice.

“The Township of Kearny would like reassure its residents that their safety is paramount and that is why increased police patrols have been implemented.  We would like everyone to understand that this is an isolated incident.

“The Township of Kearny and I would like to express our deepest sympathies to the family of the young victim.

“If any resident has any questions concerning safety issues they can call the mayor’s office or the Kearny Police Department.”

Please check back with The Observer for updates to this story. We’ll update our website as soon as more details are available.

 

 

The cbp: LLC Theatrical Troupe joins together for Sandy Relief

The “cbp:LLC” theatrical troupe, in place of its postponed Jukebox Jubilee musical revue (temporarily suspended due to hurricane location damage and electrical outages), will host a Sandy Relief Drive at the All-American Sports Shop, 482 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst, Sunday, Nov. 11, between 12 to 4 p.m.

Troupe members will be collecting necessary donation items such as: gently-used warm weather clothing (all sizes); canned foods; toiletries (incl. feminine products); new baby items; blankets, etc. Additionally, further information about the reassigned Jukebox Jubilee performance dates and future 2012 – 2013 season productions will be made available.

For more information, feel free to contact the troupe at 201-563-1746 or email cherryblossomplayers@gmail.com.

Parks and Recreation Department Sets Up “Stuff-A-Bus” Collection of Relief Items For Hurricane Sandy Victims

Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation and Commissioner Tucci in cooperation with the entire Board of Commissioners are asking residents to rise to the occasion and join them in donating desperately needed items to assist Hurricane Sandy Victims.  The devastation caused by Sandy is impossible to ignore.  Thousands are left homeless and without every day necessities.

Parks and Recreation Stuff-A-Bus is requesting donations of any non-perishable items, cases of water, personal hygiene items and new clothing donations. “Our efforts are going to be focused on collecting the basic necessities for those that have been severely impacted by this devastating storm” stated Commissioner Tucci.

Donations will be accepted at the Recreation Department located at 44 Park Ave until Wednesday, Nov. 14.  Items may be dropped off during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the main office.  Special Drop off hours have also been arranged on Saturday, Nov. 10, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, November 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Items will be distributed to the Southern New Jersey Counties affected by Sandy on Nov. 14.

This has been a difficult time for all of us but we need to send our compassion and support to those who have lost everything.  For further information on these efforts or to contribute please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 973-284-4966, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

BREAKING NEWS from Nutley Blotter

A Nutley teenage girl had a close call with a prowler on the afternoon of Monday, Aug. 13, police said.

Here is the account given by authorities:

At 1:49 p.m. police received a frantic phone call from a Nutley woman at her New York workplace. The woman told police she was just on the phone with her 15-year-old daughter who was home alone with an intruder inside the E. Passaic Ave. residence.

Police said the teen told her mother she was hiding in a second-floor linen closet and, after hearing the intruder coming up the stairs, hung up.

As investigators later learned, the intruder opened the door to the closet but never spotted the teen who had concealed herself under bed linens in the closet which, according to one investigator, was about three feet wide and a foot and a half deep.

While rummaging through several rooms, police said the intruder, apparently scared off by the sound of sirens from approaching patrol cars, ran out of the house, in the process, setting off a home security alarm system.

Ahmed Serrano

After getting a description of the suspect, police managed to capture a man matching that description just a block away with items taken from the house still on him.

Ahmed Serrano, 51, of Newark, was arrested on charges of burglary and theft. Nutley investigators are working with Bloomfield P.D. on other burglaries to which Serrano may be linked, according to police.

Nutley Police Chief John Holland said the teen had suffered trauma as a result of her narrow escape from the suspect.

Mayor/Public Safety Director Alphonse Petracco commended the actions of the police in quickly apprehending the suspect. He said he was happy that the teen was unharmed.

Serrano, meanwhile, is being held at the Essex County Jail on $50,000 bail. According to police, Serrano had just been released from jail in connection with an unrelated crime three days ago. – Ron Leir

 

CLARA MAASS MEDICAL CENTER AND AMERICAN RED CROSS TO HOST CRUCIAL BLOOD DRIVE

According to the American Red Cross and the Community Blood Council of New Jersey blood supplies are at critical lows this summer. In fact, blood supplies in June nationwide already are 50,000 pints less than they were this time last year.

Clara Maass Medical Center and the American Red Cross will host a Blood Drive on Monday, July 2, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in Greifinger Lecture Hall at the Medical Center located at 1 Clara Maass Drive, Belleville.

Individuals who are 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate. High school students may have to meet certain height and weight requirements. For a full list of eligibility requirements for donors please visit www.redcrossblood.org. All blood types are needed.

On the day of please bring picture identification, remember to eat a healthy meal and drink plenty of fluids before donating.

To make an appointment, please visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/make-donation-sponsor and enter:
Sponsor Code: 02210161
From Date:  07/01/2012
To Date:  07/03/2012

For more information, please contact Jeanette Fernandez, Blood Bank supervisor, Clara Maass Medical Center, at 973-450-2722.

Nutley Police Blotter

April 26

A man described as 5-feet-eight tried to steal a 1994 Honda parked on Newark Ave. shortly before noon but was scared off by a local resident. The would-be thief ran north on Newark and then west on Harrison St. Police said the vehicle’s steering column was damaged.

Police are investigating the theft of eyeglasses from a Franklin Ave. business shortly before 11 a.m.

Police issued a summons to a man on Park Ave. urinating while standing with his back to passing motorists at 12:26 a.m.

April 25

Someone removed a police shield from the windshield of a vehicle parked on Park Drive during the early evening.

A man on White Terrace was struck in the head by a fallen tree limb at 5:57 p.m. He was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

Someone scrawled graffiti on the wall near the waterfalls in Nichols Park. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call police at (973) 284-4940.

April 24

Two seventh-grade students duked it out after school behind an area business. One suffered a black eye as a result. Charges are pending.

A Hawthorne Ave. resident reported fraudulent charges on her charge account that were reportedly logged in Chicago, Ill.

Patricia Krentcil, 44, was arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child after she allegedly took her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth in which the child sustained burns. Krentcil, who was  wanted by the Camden County Sheriff’s Dept. on unrelated charges, was extradited to Camden County after posting the required $25,000 bail option for Nutley.

A 72-year-old Nutley man was ticketed for careless driving after his car struck a dog that had run into the street at Grant Ave. and Walnut St. at 10:17 a.m. The injured dog, cradled by its owner, was taken to a local animal hospital but the pooch couldn’t be revived.

Responding to a report of a motorist leaving the scene of an accident on Rt. 21 at 9:34 a.m., police located a heavily damaged 2007 Mitsubishi in a bank parking lot on River Road and arrested the driver, Samantha Petrullo, 34, of North Plainfield, on charges of DWI, possession of drugs and possession of a hypodermic needle. Petrullo was also ticketed for leaving the scene, driving while suspended, driving an uninsured motor vehicle, failing to report an accident and possession of drugs in a motor vehicle. The other driver involved was unhurt, police said.

A driver was stopped at Franklin and Kingsland Aves. at 8:15 a.m. after police say they saw him making an illegal turn. The driver, not identified by police, was ticketed for the illegal turn and for failure to register his vehicle, which police then impounded.

A suspended driver with an expired registration was given summonses by police after the driver was stopped on Passaic Ave. at 1:42 a.m. The vehicle was impounded. Police didn’t identify the driver.

April 23

Police investigating an anonymous letter reporting witchcraft being practiced in an Elm St. residence met with the occupants at around 9 p.m. and a “cooperative voluntary search” of the home failed to document any evidence of “satanic rituals,” according to police.

A Park Ave. resident suffered facial burns while cooking at night. She was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital for treatment.

Township workers cleaning sewer drains at 9:31 a.m. found a handgun near Myrtle Ave. and Monsignor Owens Place. Police took the weapon and are investigating to determine if it was used in a crime.

What police described as a “mother daughter dispute” on Hillside Ave. prompted the mother to flee with her 3-year-old grandson at 8:31 a.m. Police located both in Livingston and brought them back to Nutley. After learning that the daughter, Jackie McInerney, 24, of Nutley, had outstanding warrants totaling $1,150 from Livingston and Belleville, police arrested her and later charged her with simple assault with an additional $2,500 bail set. McInerney was released after posting bail, pending a court hearing.

Alerted by an activated burglar alarm, police went to a Bloomfield Ave. convenience store at 12:27 a.m. where they found the side window smashed and proceeds taken. Detectives are investigating this burglary and other area burglaries that may be linked to the same culprit.

April 22

Two people were hurt in an accident on Rt. 21 at 3:28 a.m. Police believe the accident occurred when a pickup truck was struck from behind by a Mercedes Benz. Police said the truck rolled down an embankment and hit a tree. Both of the occupants were taken to an area hospital for treatment of head injuries. The Mercedes motorist, not identified by police, was charged with DWI and released to a responsible adult pending a court appearance.

Police are investigating a report from a Nutley resident who said she was pulled over on Prospect St. by a blue pickup truck with flashing blue and red lights apparently posing as a cop.

April 21

The driver of a 2010 Toyota who, police say, fled the scene of an accident at Franklin Ave. and Glenwood Road at 9:02 p.m. continued driving along Grant Ave. where he struck a number of parked cars. When officers caught up to the driver at Centre St. and Passaic Ave., police said the driver tried to flee but was stopped and placed under arrest. Jorge Delgado, 33, was ticketed for leaving the scene of an accident and DWI. He was released to a responsible adult pending a court hearing.

Someone swiped two bicycles from the rear yard of a Kenzel Ave. residence. The theft was reported at 12:16 p.m.

A Mountainview Ave. resident complained to police about a neighbor feeding stray cats which defecate and bring small prey into an open garage, causing a foul odor and potential health risk. The Health Dept. was asked to investigate.

Police found a 45-year-old man incapacitated and lying in the street at Lafayette Place and Park Ave. at around 1 a.m. He was taken to an area hospital for evaluation.

April 20

A 55-year-old intoxicated man fell down several steps in the park off Centre St. at around 8:30 p.m. and was transported to an area hospital for treatment of his injuries.

A woman shopping at a local business shortly before 8:30 p.m. told police that as she reached for groceries on the top shelf, a woman grabbed her purse from her shopping cart and ran out of the store, with employees giving chase. Police apprehended the suspect, Kathleen Armstrong, 46, of North Brunswick, holding the customer’s purse, several blocks away and charged her with theft.

Five teens were caught with drugs while hanging out on the rail tracks near Nutley Ave. at 5:19 p.m. They were turned over to their parents’ custody and charged with possession of marijuana.

A Clifton motorist was charged with DWI after police say he rear-ended another vehicle at Franklin Ave. and Harrison St. at 1:14 p.m. Victor Bador, 40, was issued a summons and released to the custody of a family member pending a court hearing.