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Category: News Alerts

BREAKING: Youtube video of Harrison fire

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


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



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



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.