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KFD aids fire-beset Union City

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Last Thursday, on one of the most brutally cold nights of the year, a six-alarm fire engulfed three multi-family buildings on 19th St. in Union City, leaving more than 50 people homeless. The blaze broke out about 11:30 p.m. and took six hours to bring under control.

The North Hudson Regional FD was aided by companies from several other communities, including Harrison and Kearny, which were dispatched to cover Union City during the conflagration.

The Kearny Fire Department had sent one engine and one ladder truck, and at 1:27 a.m. Friday, these were needed to fight yet another Union City blaze.

According to a report by KFD Chief Steve Dyl, that one occurred in a woodframe, multi-family building at 110 New York Ave. (about 10 blocks from the 19th St. scene).

Dyl said the fire, of unknown origin, was confined to a second-floor apartment in the three-story structure.

As on 19th St., firefighters’ efforts were complicated by the 8-degree temperature– with a wind-chill factor well below zero–and the snow remaining from last week’s blizzard.

As water was directed on the flames, equipment became coated with sheets of ice and the streets turned into a skating rink.

The KFD remained at the scene for about 1 1/2 hours.

Back in Kearny on Friday, the KFD responded to an 8 p.m. smoke detector activation at 151 Kearny Ave., a mattress store. Dyl reported that the fire involved the heating unit and produced a smoke condition throughout the building. The fire was quickly extinguished and confined to the heating unit.

On Sunday, at 7:50 p.m., a fire broke out on the second floor of a home on Shepard Place. It was confined to the bathroom, with smoke damage to second floor and water damage to the first floor. The cause is under investigation. There were no injuries, but three residents and two pets were relocated for the evening with family/friends. All Kearny units responded. Jersey City covered Kearny, and Harrison was on standby.

–Karen Zautyk

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