1 critical after fire breaks out at NJ senior center

July 2, 2010 2:52:23 AM PDT
Senior citizens were forced into the night after a large fire broke out in a five-story senior center apartment building in New Jersey.

At least one person is in critical condition and dozens of people had to be rescued through the smoke.

It was a scary few hours for the folks who live at the Cooper Towers Senior Citizens Building in the Iselin section of Woodbridge. The fire broke out around 1:45 a.m. Friday. And now that the flames are out, the fire marshal is trying to piece together how it started.

Two people were injured in the blaze. A 70-year-old man was flown by helicopter to St. Barnabas Medical Center's burn unit in critical condition. Another person was treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters put out the flames while they worked with police and paramedics to help 75 to 100 people evacuate the building. That proved to be a difficult task, since many of the people who live in the building rely on canes and wheelchairs.

Thankfully, emergency workers were able to get everyone out of the building. The fire was confined to a one-bedroom apartment on the first floor.

Firefighters battled the flames and then ventilated the entire building to get the smoke out. Once the building was smoke free, responders brought everyone back inside. Now, the investigation has turned to what caused the fire.