Firefighters found themselves fighting fierce flames and fierce elements. Icicles now hang off the charred building, the water used to fight the blaze turned almost immediately into sheets of ice.
High winds threatened to spread the flames.
"They were really fighting hard. Because of the wind, it would start blazing again," resident Bobby McClary said.
"The concern was with the wind and fire overlapping, flames would reach the adjacent buildings too," said Mayor Brian Wahler.
The fire tore through 10 condominiums, leaving about 25 people homeless just three days into the new year. The Red Cross is helping them find temporary shelter.
Firefighters from Piscataway called in help from neighboring towns. They managed to keep the fire from spreading despite the bitter, gusting wind.
The fire took more than two hours to get under control.
The cause remains under investigation.