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High Winds Hamper Efforts at Garfield House Fire

By DAMIEN DANIS, Senior Correspondent | March 01, 2021 | NEW JERSEY

Story No. 030221108

Garfield, NJ - A furious fire engulfed one home and damaged another in Garfield on the evening of March 1st.

At approximately 10:00 P.M., Garfield Police HQ began receiving numerous calls for a fire at 53 Scudder Street. As Chiefs arrived, fire was visible on the first and second floors of a two-story dwelling. Engine 5 arrived first due and attempted to make an interior attack. Members were met by heavy fire on both floors.

Due to the high winds, the fire had extended to a neighboring home. Companies were evacuated due to the significantly wind-driven fire and a high tension wire coming down in front of the fire building right next to Engine 5. PSE&G was called on a rush to kill arcing power lines.

As additional engine companies arrived they reported several frozen dead hydrants. Frigid winds blew steadily at more than 20 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 40 mph as heavy fire quickly consumed the two homes. Companies operated with an exterior attack using numerous outside lines, one deck gun and Truck 4's ladder pipe, keeping the fire to the two buildings without any other fire spread.

Companies had a good knock down on the blaze after a little over an hour-and-a-half. As firefighters re-entered the main building to complete searches and douse flame pockets, two cats were safely removed and reunited with their owners.

The fire was declared under control shortly before midnight by Assistant Chief EJ Morano. No injuries were immediately reported, but one firefighter suffered a minor injury. The Red Cross responded to provide temporary lodging, food and clothing, as the fire displaced 20 or so residents.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Arson Investigation Unit was summoned to conduct an investigation into the cause of the fire. Mutual aid from Lodi, Saddle Brook, Wallington and Elmwood Park assisted on scene, along with the Moonachie Rescue Squad fire rehab unit. Stand by companies from Rochelle Park, Maywood, Lodi and Passaic covered during the incident.

(Author's note: Thank you to the Garfield fire prevention for assistance with this article.)

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.