3-Alarm fire destroys 5 homes in Orange, NJ

February 20, 2010 4:21:06 PM PST
A 3-Alarm fire burned through a row of houses in Orange, New Jersey.It was around 1 in the afternoon Saturday in Orange, when the smokey fire started without warning.

Charles Jones lives in the home where the fire first started, he says the fire was shooting out of the windows.

Eight houses in the row on Oakwood Avenue were evacuated, some of the residents had just minutes to escape.

"I thought it was gas leak, whatever, came to find out, all the houses were burning down," said James Mayfield, fire victim.

One of the factors that caused the fire to spread so quickly, is how close the homes are to each other.

"It's old wooden buildings, close to each other. They're like three feet apart, you could barely walk down with your shoulders between the buildings," said Deputy Chief Ed Hector, of the Orange Fire Department.

The mayor of Orange was also on the scene Saturday afternoon, because many residents were displaced by the fire.

"I think if you just glace over at the homes, you can see it's a pretty catastrophic event there," said Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., the Mayor of Orange.

For Jones, it's a big mystery as to what actually went on.

He went to work, and returned home to find everything up in flames.

"I'm just stuck for words right now, three of my dogs may have died, and I lost everything," said Jones.