3-alarm fire tears through New Jersey building, which partially collapses

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A three-alarm fire tore through a large building in New Jersey early Monday, causing it to partially collapse.

The fire broke out in the three-story building on River Street in Paterson just before 1 a.m. Residents rushed down the fire escapes to get out of the building.

Heavy flames burned through the structure, which appeared to house several businesses and apartments.

"The building is falling apart," Paterson fire Chief Brian McDermott said. "We've established a collapse zone, and firefighters are not allowed to enter the collapse zone for any reason. Their safety is paramount right now. The building is a total loss. It's gutted, it's collapsing as we speak."

No injuries were reported, but several residents -- including children -- have been displaced.

"My daughter heard our dog barking, and she was just barking and barking, and she said, 'Do you want me to shut her up, Dad? Let's see what's going on,'" resident Abraham Morales said. "My daughter ran back and said, 'There's smoke and the alarm is on.'"

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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