Brand-new cars go up in flames

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Last Thursday, for the second time in five days, township firefighters responded to the South Kearny industrial area to battle a spectacular blaze, this one involving car carriers loaded with brand-new vehicles that had been on their way to dealerships.

In all, six carriers and 23 vehicles — including sedans, SUVs and mini-vans — were destroyed in the fire, which was reported at 12:05 a.m., Feb. 5, Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl said. Four tractors for the trailers also went up in flames.

Because the vehicles were stacked close together, it was difficult to get water between them, Dyl said. Also feeding the flames were the burning tires and fibreglass.

The fire went to two alarms, but was declared under control at 1:06 a.m.

The site was an industrial park at 55 Jacobus Ave., where the tractors and carriers had been parked in a lot on the Alden Leeds chemical company property, Dyl said. The flames threatened a one-story office building belonging to Alden Leeds, but the firefighters kept them from spreading to that structure, the chief said. However, it did suffer some heat damage.

Along with the KFD, fire crews from Harrison and Jersey City were at the scene. The East Newark, North Arlington and North Hudson departments were on standby.

One Kearny firefighter suffered a minor injury and was treated at University Hospital in Newark.

Thursday’s frigid weather caused some problems with icing, “but conditions were not as bad as Saturday,” Dyl said. He was referring to the Jan. 31 four-alarm fire at Kephart Trucking on Second St. in South Kearny.

As reported in last week’s Observer, extensive icing and frozen hoses complicated the job for the 75-80 firefighters who responded to that inferno. In addition to Kearny, they came from Harrison, East Newark, North Arlington, Jersey City, Bayonne and Hoboken.

Smoke from that early morning fire forced the temporary closure of the Pulaski Skyway. The Kephart truck-repair building where the blaze is believed to have begun was so severely damaged that its demolition was ordered.

The cause of last Thursday’s fire is under investigation by the State Division of Fire Safety, Dyl said.

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