Fire, violent explosion tears through building in Harrison

March 10, 2013 9:56:06 PM PDT
Several firefighters nearly lost their lives on Sunday, when a backdraft caused an explosion as they were battling a blaze in Harrison, New Jersey.

Firefighters say the blaze likely started in the kitchen of a Mexican restaurant on the 600 block of Frank E. Rogers Avenue before it quickly spread and engulfed the entire building, and the one next to it.

Investigators say this is the second time a fire has broken out in the restaurant.

At least four families are getting help from the Red Cross, because their homes were destroyed.

"We don't have nothing. I just have the clothes that you see right now, it's the only thing that I have right now," says victim Inelka Duran.

Duran lost all of her possessions in the fire, including her five-month-old puppy named Casito.

Fortunately, Duran, her husband and children are all safe. They are one of at least four families who were left homeless because of the fire.

"We're trying to get some help to figure out what to do because my kids, they have no clothes to go to school tomorrow," added Duran.

None of the families were hurt in the fire, but unfortunately the same is not true for first responders who rushed in to fight the blaze.

"The unfortunate thing with a back-draft is that initially there's heavy smoke in the building," said Captain Robert Gillen of the Harrison Fire Department, "all you need is an entrance of more oxygen and there's a massive explosion."

Two out of the five firefighters who were hurt had extensive injuries, but all are expected to be okay.

CLICK HERE to see photos of the fire.

CLICK HERE to watch raw video from the explosion.