The fire broke out just after noon at a building on Bramhall Avenue just off of Bergen Avenue in Jersey City and quickly spread to the adjacent building.
Both three-story apartment buildings were fully involved, and thick, black smoke could be seen all the way from Staten Island.
Fire Chief Darren Rivers says 80-year-old Walter Highsmith died in Monday's fire. City Spokesman Stan Eason says Highsmith lived in a first floor apartment of one of the buildings.
Four firefighters also suffered injuries. One of them suffered broken bones and collapsed lung after falling 3 stories from a ladder. Rivers says he is hospitalized in serious but stable condition. The three other firefighters suffered minor injuries.
The fire was brought under control around 2:30 p.m.
The cause is under investigation.
Get Eyewitness News Delivered