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Two Homes Gutted in Garfield

By BILL TOMPKINS, Correspondent | September 19, 2020 | NEW JERSEY

Story No. 092120102

A spectacular four-alarm fire destroyed two residences and damaged a third on September 19th. Mutual aid from 14 departments was reported to be operating at the scene or covering firehouses.

Just after 7:30 P.M. reports began to be received of a working fire at 168 Van Winkle Ave. By the time the first units arrived the home was fully involved as well as a car in the driveway and flames had extended to the “B” exposure. The attack on the original fire building went immediately defensive. Lines were advanced into the exposure building, had to be withdrawn due to the rapidly extending fire. Two elevated master streams, Garfield Truck 4 in the front and Elmwood Park Tower in the rear operated as well as two deck guns and numerous handlines. The fire was able to be darkened down by about 9:00.

Two structures were consumed, the “D” exposure received lesser damage. NJ Transit trains were halted for the duration of the fire as supply lines were stretched over the tracks. No injuries to residents was reported. A family dog was saved, but two cats were killed. One police officer reportedly received a minor injury. Six families were left homeless. Bergen County Arson Task Force was summoned due to the magnitude of fire on arrival and the rapid spread. The Red Cross is assisting those displaced.

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