Early-morning apartment fire displaces 20 people in Paterson
An early-morning fire in Paterson destroyed an apartment building and displaced several families.
The building is located at Temple and North 7th streets in Paterson. The second and third floors were completely burned out and blackened.
Las Marias Supermarket, located on the first floor, was also badly damaged. About 20 residents were displaced.
Vladimir Marino, 19, says that he was asleep when the fire started.
“It was like my big sister was waking everyone up saying, Fire! Fire!' I thought it was a little fire, so I was going to put it out myself," Marino says. "I went to the back, opened the door and saw the whole back on fire. The walls everything collapsing.”
He says that the family had a limited time to grab what they could and escape.
Tenants say the fire started on the second floor in the rear of the building. Cesar Gonzalez was also asleep with his wife and three kids inside their second-floor apartment. His neighbor from across the street saw the flames while getting in his car for work and ran to help.
“The neighbor started banging on the front door like at 6 a.m. We come out, and the fire is blazing already," Gonzalez says. “If he came a little bit later, we probably would’ve been stuck upstairs.”
After firefighters doused the flames, several tenants stood by wrapped in blankets to keep warm, in disbelief over the loss of their homes and belongings that were left behind and consumed by smoke and flames.
The entire building is a loss including the market on the first floor. Both of those families who spoke to News 12 say that they lost pets to the fire.
The Paterson Fire Department is still looking into the exact cause of the fire.