By Karen Zautyk
Fire gutted a Schuyler Ave. home Sunday morning, leaving the two-family residence “unsafe for occupancy” and displacing its five residents, fire officials reported.
There were no injuries to the occupants or firefighters, but two pet cats rescued from the house did not survive. “We got them out, but it was too late,” said Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl.
Dyl said the alarm came in at 9:08 a.m., and units from Kearny, East Newark and Jersey City responded to the scene at 142 Schuyler, near Hoyt St.
The blaze in the two-story, wood-frame home was declared under control at 10:27 a.m. Dyl said the Kearny police evacuated the occupants as firefighters were arriving on the scene. One resident has been relocated by the Red Cross and the other four are reportedly staying with friends.
The fire is thought to have started in a rear stairwell, but the exact cause is under investigation by the KFD Bureau of Combustibles under the direction of Acting Chief Inspector John Donovan.
Although there was “severe damage” to the home, Dyl said that “an agressive interior attack” by the KFD “prevented the fire from destroying the entire building and extending to a nearby building.”
“The members of the KFD once again went above and beyond expectations to try to save the structure,” the chief said.
Dyl said a building on Hoyt St. received minor exterior damage due to radiant heat.
KFD Deputy Chief John Harris was the incident commander at the scene. The Harrison and North Arlington Fire Departments provided coverage to Kearny while the town’s fire units were battling the blaze.
On March 20, at 8 p.m., the KFD was called to a chimney fire in a one-family home at 197 Brighton Ave.
Kearny was assisted by firefighters from Newark and North Arlington because the other KFD units were in Bayonne, helping that city’s firefighters battle a fouralarm blaze.
Dyl said the Brighton Ave. fire was basically confined to the chimney with some minor extension into the walls. By utilizing its thermal- imaging cameras, the KFD was able to detect the specific hot spots, avoiding unnecessary damage to the walls, Dyl said. Firefighters “had to open some walls,” the chief noted, “but there were not a lot of holes.”
The fire was declared under control at 8:40 p.m. No injuries were reported, and the residents were permitted to reoccupy their home.
KFD Deputy Chief Ozzie Osborn was the commander at the scene.
Dyl said the probable cause was a partially clogged chimney, and he used the incident to remind homeowners that “it is important that your chimneys, fireplaces and heating chimneys be maintained and serviced annually by a professional.”