Fire eats through downtown Rutherford building

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Dray Clark reporting from New Jersey (WABC)

A fire burned through a building in the downtown area of Rutherford Wednesday morning.

Firefighters in Bergen County battled icy conditions as they put out the fire, which was first reported at 3 a.m. It started at a cafe in a three-story building on Park Avenue.

Firefighters found heavy smoke coming from basement when they arrived, but the fire quickly spread and at one point, the 3-alarm blaze sent flames shooting through the roof.

The fire was under control by about 5 a.m.

Charles Badalamente, a neighbor in the next building, said firefighters banged on his door to wake him up. "You could hear the fire alarms going off. They came banging on the door ...didn't really smell it until actually went downstairs," he said.

Workers also were challenged by the runoff from the fire which froze. A salt truck came through to melt the ice and prevent firefighters from slipping. A warming tent had been set up on scene.

It is unclear what caused the fire.
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