A fast-moving fire destroyed the second- and third-floors of 123 Stuyvesant Ave., Kearny, on Tuesday, Jan. 14 into Jan. 15, Kearny Fire Chief Steven M. Dyl told The Observer last week.
The first call for the fire came in at 10:38 p.m., Dyl said, and units quickly arrived to find heavy fire on the building’s second floor. The initial units — which were later joined by firefighters from Harrison and Jersey City — performed an interior attack on the blaze, but were evacuated from inside the building at a little after 11 p.m. The conditions, Dyl said, were too intense, for an interior attack.
Units then began an exterior attack on the fire, which was declared under control a little over an hour later at 12:05 a.m.
Despite the conditions, only one woman experienced minor injuries — her hair was singed. All other humans escaped unharmed, fortunately; however, the family’s dog died in the fire. One witness said she saw the dog come out from the fire, but it turned around and went back in and did not come out a second time.
Three adults, in total, were in the home at the time of the fire, Dyl said, noting that they’ve all got places to stay for the time being.
Chief Fire Inspector Juan Barroso Jr. and engineers were on scene the day after the fire checking the home’s stability, according to Dyl. The home appeared to be uninhabitable.
What to do when a fire breaks out …
As he does with all house fires, Dyl took the time to remind residents of the importance of quickly getting out when one breaks out.
The first step, he says, is to get out of the building immediately and, if feasible, to call 911 while evacuating. After evacuating, all families should have a meeting spot far enough away from the home so as not to cause any harm to those who evacuated. If calling 911 was not possible while getting out, this would be the time to call. One shouldn’t presume someone else is making the call.
Once firefighters arrive, designate someone to inform them whether all have escaped prior to their arrival.
And perhaps most important — once you’re outside, do not go back inside.
Dyl also reminds all residents of the importance of having smoke and CO detectors in a home. If, by chance, you do not have such alarms, the Kearny Fire Department has them available, at no cost. Stop by Kearny FD Headquarters at 109 Midland Ave., and ask for the Bureau of Combustibles, during normal business hours.
How you can help
Meanwhile, Kearny PBA Local No. 21 has directed residents to a GoFundMe fundraiser for the victims. A family member who lived in the home is currently a recruit to become a Port Authority Police Officer. Visit www.gofundme.com/f/the-russo-family-housefire-fund to donate. As of presstime, more than $20,000 has been raised.
Learn more about the writer ...
Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.