JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) --More than a dozen firefighters needed medical treatment after battling a three-alarm fire in New Jersey Wednesday morning.
15 firefighters suffered heat exhaustion, with eight of them taken to the hospital for further tests, as they worked to extinguish the blaze on Grove Street in Jersey City.
Three firefighters remain hospitalized. The others have been treated and released.
The flames broke out on the fourth floor of the building just before 9 a.m.
"The plumes came and came," witness Denise Paul said. "I saw the firemen on top of the roof, and the smoke was just tremendous. It was a lot. And then they were sawing into the roof, and flames were coming."
Power lines made it difficult to attack the blaze from the street, so backup support was quickly called in as the fire increased to three alarms.
"Due to the extreme heat and humidity, the guys with all the gear, this is the same gear they wear when it's 5 degrees," Jersey City fire Chief Darren Rivers said. "So when it's 80 or 90 degrees, these guys can lose fluids very rapidly."
Investigators say the fire appears to have started in a bathroom, and an electrical outlet malfunction is likely to blame.
"All I heard was fire trucks, and as soon as I got down, I saw the flames and it was huge," another witness said. "It was really thick, white smoke, and I just got scared and was praying everybody was OK."
It is a multipurpose building, and the top three floors are apartments. There is a Laundromat and bike shop on the first floor.