21 homeless after 5-alarm fire burns through 3 homes in New Jersey

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Officials say 21 people are homeless, including five children, after a five-alarm fire burned through three homes in New Jersey early Tuesday.

The fire started at one home on Wegman Parkway in Jersey City just before 5:30 a.m. and quickly spread to two others.

Residents ran to the nearby firehouse to alert firefighters to the blaze.

Firefighters battled the flames and tried to keep them from spreading further, but they ran into some complications at the scene.

"With that much volume of fire, you run out of water in about two minutes, that fast," Jersey City Chief of Department Steven McGill said. "And that's what happened. So they backed out initially. Once they got more water, they went back in."

The fire trucks used the water they brought initially but ran out before the other engines arrived. Once other fire trucks were on the scene and hooked up to the fire hydrants, the firefighting continued.

Three dogs were also displaced, along with their families.

One firefighter sustained second-degree burns to the back of his neck battling the blaze and was rushed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, although electrical issues in the first building are being examined.

Fire officials noted that this was the third serious fire that the fire department had to tend to within seven hours.

"It's taxing, no doubt about it," McGill said. "Like if you are into sports, you play two games in a row, you get a little bit tired. But we have 26 companies throughout the city, have a very aggressive department, and the guys and girls like to get in there, and they did a very good job."

There was also a fire at 10 p.m. Monday on Rutgers Avenue, where 12 people were displaced, and a high-rise fire around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

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