Fire engulfs 3 homes in Union City

June 8, 2010 10:00:26 PM PDT
A huge fire engulfed three homes, went to five alarms, and kept dozens of firefighters very busy in Union City, New Jersey. Six families now have no place to live.

Thirty-two people are affected by this fire in different ways.

It all happened at once.

"I grabbed my little sister and just ran out. And told everybody to get out of the house," Jose Alvarado said

"We went and saw smoke and started knocking on everybody's windows and doors. And we saw there was a fire building in the backyard and we tried to get everybody out of the house," Amauris Aleman said.

"As I was approaching the house, I saw there was smoke in the air. And I knew right then and there my house had to be involved in a fire," Christopher Irizarry said.

An afternoon fire that started in somewhere in the back of Kevin and Jose's home and moved fast to the houses next door to both the left and right.

"I was playing video games. And I smelled like a bar-be-que. And I went to my dad's room and I saw flames coming out the back of the house," Alvarado said.

"When we came out, we saw this guy just jump out of his car and go the house next door and just started hitting the door trying to open it, to get the people out. He's kinda like a hero," Kevin Erazo said.

That guy is Amauris Aleman, a Hackensack paramedic.

He was driving by, saw the smoke, and instinctively started banging on doors.

"We went to the second house and there was two old ladies and three kids," Aleman said.

That elderly lady is the mother of Union City Commissioner Christopher Irizarry, who was at home with his three children.

"My son looked up and said daddy there's smoke coming from our house and I have no shoes on," Irizarry said.

No one was home with Rocky the pit bull. He managed to get out on his own and was found hiding in the backyard.

On a day like today, the fire department says if the wind had been moving in a different direction, they would have been chasing this fire up the street.

Three houses burned in the five alarm blaze, which took 80 firefighters to tame.

The cause of all of this physical and emotional destruction is still under investigation.