2 fires miles apart engulf rows of businesses, apartments in West New York and Union City

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, February 9, 2023
Fires engulf rows of businesses and apartments in New Jersey
Two five-alarm fires burned through several stores and apartments on Bergenline Avenue in West New York and Union City, NJ. Anthony Johnson has the story.

WEST NEW YORK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Two fires burned through several buildings on Bergenline Avenue in New Jersey on Wednesday, just miles apart.

The first was a five-alarm fire that tore through several stores and apartments in West New York.

Officials say the fire broke out in one store on Bergenline Avenue just before 4:30 a.m. and quickly spread to others.

Six stores in three buildings appeared to be damaged by the fire.

The 5-alarm fire broke out at around 4:30 a.m. Newscopter 7 was overhead the flames.

Officials say a nail salon, smoke shop, repair store, beauty supply store, a Carvel Ice Cream store, and a Don Julios BBQ with apartments above it, were all affected.

Approximately 15 families were displaced.

A short time later, another large fire burned through another three stores with apartments on the second and third floors at 1009 Bergenline in Union City.

Union City Mayor Brian Stack said about 50 people were left homeless by the fire.

Some of the North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue mutual aid that had been operating at the West New York fire was being redirected to Union City. It has been a strain on the dozens of firefighters battling both fires.

"Absolutely. a long day like this, hours of work. Guys work tremendously. They go through multiple bottles and it takes a toll on their bodies. Mentally, physically, psychologically, it affects you in all ways," said Chief David Donnarumma, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue.

Law enforcement is aware of the similarities in the West New York and Union City fires. Both will be investigated by the Hudson County Regional Arson Task Force.

They will also be consulting with the Union County Prosecutor's Office about a similar fire Tuesday night in Plainfield. No immediate connection between the fires has been made.

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