Suspicious 3-alarm fire guts home in New Jersey, spreads to 2 others

NORTH PLAINFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A three-alarm fire leveled one home and damaged two others in New Jersey Wednesday morning, and police have labeled the blaze suspicious.

The flames broke out around 2:40 a.m. at 185 Maple Avenue in North Plainfield, Somerset County, at a house under construction.

Video from the scene showed the home engulfed by massive flames that spread to two neighboring homes.
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Eyewitness News viewer Nick Mendoza captured video of flames consuming a home in North Plainfield, New Jersey.

Authorities say the wives in both homes were awakened as the fire grew and were able to alert their families, getting everyone out safely.

"Crackling of fire...well, crackling, big pops," one of the women said. "And I opened my eyes and the room was lit up like the sun was shining, and I felt heat. And I just yelled to everybody, you know, 'There's a fire next door! We've got to get out!'"

The first home collapsed.

"It's the middle of the night, and there's only limited crews on duty," North Plainfield Chief William Eaton said. "So there's a lot of mutual aid, fire departments, that were involved to control the fire."

It took crews an hour and half to get the situation under control.

One firefighter was hurt and was taken to Somerset Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

No one else was injured.

An investigation is underway into what led to the fire.

An origin and cause has not been released by investigators and is still under investigation, but officials confirmed the fire has been categorized as suspicious.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the North Plainfield Police Department at (908) 769-2937. Information can also be provided through the Somerset County Crime Stoppers' Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS (8477). All tips will be kept confidential.

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