Fast-moving fire leaves several homes damaged, families displaced in North Bergen

NORTH BERGEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A fast-moving fire in New Jersey has left several homes damaged and at least 10 families displaced.

They stood for generations on a narrow block in North Bergen. But a row of brownstones was no match for the wall of flames that destroyed them Monday night on 9th Street.

"It's just a real horror. Started at 5:00 and spread so quickly that by 7:00 it was all consumed," North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco said.

The first flames sparked in one house, but whipped by Monday's relentless wind, the fire jumped to the next, and the next, and the one after that.

At least six houses burned. As firefighters evacuated the whole block, people grabbed their pets and their passports and fled.

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"We thought it was something minor at first but then it kept spreading and spreading, it started getting scary for all the people with houses over there everyone on this block," evacuee Shannon Anderson said.

"I guess the wind doesn't help as well. Tt's a scary feeling. Very scary feeling," evacuee Angela Ortiz said.

Onlookers watched as platoons of firefighters dumped oceans of water on what was left.

By the time it was over, the Red Cross had signed up 10 families who'd been displaced. They were destined for a hotel Monday night as they start the tortuous process of getting their lives back together

"It's tragic. You lose so many things in a fire it's hard to imagine so many of your memories are lost," Mayor Sacco said.

"As I have my mom with me, that's what matters is that the lives are saved," Ortiz said. "Material things are material things, but it's still emotional."

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The cause of this fire is still under investigation, but the good news is that in the face of these flames and those incredibly strong winds, not one person was physically hurt.

Animal control was also on the scene and rescued at least five animals.

Unfortunately, one cat was killed in the fire.

There are still some pets inside the homes which Animal Control is working to rescue.


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