Explosion rocks commercial building in New Jersey, sparks 4-alarm fire

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Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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Toni Yates reports from New Jersey where a massive explosion tore through a commercial building Wednesday morning, sparking a four-alarm fire.

ENGLEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A massive explosion tore through a commercial building in New Jersey Wednesday morning, sparking a four-alarm fire.

The blast happened just after 8:30 a.m. at a shoe distributor on Bancker Street in Englewood, sending thick plumes of smoke into the sky.

"Just a big boom, looked up, big cloud of smoke," witness Mark Lewis said. "That area over there was just a big black cloud of smoke. Like I said, it looked like a plane crash."

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Nearly 200 firefighters responded and arrived to find heavy flames, according to Englewood Fire Chief Erik Enersen.

Traffic in the area was diverted as emergency crews worked on containing the blaze, which took 2 1/2 hours to get under control.

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Ambulances also raced to the scene and remain on standby, but at this point, there are no reports of any injuries.

"There was a lot of fire, but they got it under control pretty quickly," witness Matias Csillag said.

The building was gutted by the flames, and one of the walls collapsed.

Enersen said no one was inside at the time, and the investigation is ongoing.

"The building where the fire originated, where the explosion originated, was some type of shoe distributor," Enersen said. "As far as the cause of the fire, cause and origin, that is still under investigation."

It sits very close to a residential complex, and the explosion was powerful enough to rattle buildings in the immediate area.

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