Portal Bridge fire doused by KFD fireboat

KFD Kearny fi reboat was called into action at the Portal Bridge last week.
Kearny fireboat was called into action at the Portal Bridge last week.


Thanks to an all-hands response by the Kearny Fire Department, including its fireboat, a blaze at the Portal Bridge in South Kearny last week was brought under control in less than an hour.

No injuries were reported and damage to the structure was minimal, as were any delays in train service, KFD Chief Steve Dyl said.

Dyl said the fire was apparently ignited by sparks from repair workers performing “torching operations” on the span.

The 104-year-old bridge, now administered by Amtrak, carries 450 trains and an estimated 150,000 riders per day over the Hackensack River.

Flames were reported at 2:31 p.m. on Tuesday, June 30, and all KFD units responded. The fire was declared under control at 3:25 p.m.

The chief said there was “minor damage” to a wooden walkway on the bridge.

“If trains were stopped, it was for a short period,” Dyl noted, adding, “There were no major delays, partly because of the quick response by the boat.”

Two fires in the residential area of Kearny also were recorded in recent days.

On Saturday, June 27, the KFD responded to a 12:20 a.m. fire in a garage behind a one-family home at 82 Ivy St. That blaze was under control in 13 minutes, and there was no damage to the house, Dyl said. The cause was undetermined.

At 12:52 p.m. last Wednesday, July 1, fire broke out in a one-family home at 434 Hickory St., at the corner of Midland Ave. It was under control by 1:03 p.m.

Dyl said the flames were confined to a bedroom and the resident was allowed to return to the home. The cause was undetermined, but it appeared to be electrical, the chief said.

There were no injuries in either blaze.

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