5-alarm fire burns in Passaic; High School evacuates

May 31, 2013 2:17:16 PM PDT
A huge fire in Passaic, New Jersey has left 8 firefighters injured and forced the evacuation of Passaic High School.

The fire broke out at about 9:15 Friday morning at a four-story apartment building at 162 Gregory Avenue, directly behind Passaic High School.

Part of the building's roof collapsed, and firefighters battled to keep the blaze from spreading to other buildings.

Eight firefighters were taken to St. Mary's Hospital.

They are being treated for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion, and are in stable condition.

Three civilian and 1 EMS were hurt as well, and firefighters had to rescue a number of residents.

"We had multiple victims on the third floor yelling for help, visible from the windows," said Patrick Trentacast of the Passaic Fire Department. "We had people on fire escapes. On a day like today our guys are dropping like flies. It's heat exhaustion."

The Passaic School District superintendent's office says students from the high school were relocated to Lincoln Middle School and School 11.

Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire, which broke out in a third-floor apartment. The building houses over 100 people.

At least ten towns sent fire trucks to the scene, including as far away as Totowa.