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Jersey City Heights Major Fire On Beacon Avenue - 126, 128, 130 and 132 Engulfed

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"Jersey City Fire In Heights Engulfs Four Houses, Displaces Families, Officials Say"


By Ken Thorburn/The Jersey Journal

December 20, 2009: 2:07PM


"Jersey City blaze in Heights engulfed five buildings, and has displaced several families.


Several families have been displaced by a nearly four alarm fire that engulfed four buildings along Beacon Avenue in the Heights section of the city, officials say.


Fire officials are calling the blaze the stiffest challenge they have faced all year due to the snow and sub-freezing temperatures they had to operate in.


The fire which was called in at 12:38am at 130 Beacon Avenue, eventually spread to involve four houses, 126, 128, 130, and 132 Beacon Avenue, Fire Director Armando Roman said. Three of the buildings are in such bad condition - 128, 130 and 132 - they will have to be torn down, Roman said.


Fire companies are still at the scene checking for spot fires here and there, Roman said. The blaze wasn't declared under control until 8am.


Several fire victims were back at the fire scene this morning, chipping ice to gain access to their apartments and recover some belonings.


One person was transported to the Jersey City Medical Center as a result of the fire. She is an astmatic patient, Roman said.


Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and were treated at the Jersey City Medical Center and released, he said.


Many of these displaced families had to be temporarily sheltered at (Jotham W. Wakeman) School 6 on St. Paul's Avenue (100 St. Paul's Avenue - Central and St. Paul's).


Five families - a total of twenty people - were taken in by the American Red Cross. The other families are staying with relatives or friends, Roman said.


The fire - which caused the department to call in additional units even after it was bumped up to three alarms - was the most difficult for Jersey City firefighters to handle all year due to the snow and sub-freezing temperatures, Roman said.


"Without a doubt, this was one of the biggest ones (fires this year) and without a doubt one of the most difficult to fight because of the inclement weather, Roman said.


"It (snow, cold and ice) slows your firefighting capabilities down. It makes for slow movement", he said. "Just walking in that kind of weather without having to perform a firefighting task is difficult. And everything starts freezing up. Any residual water turns to ice."


The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Arson investigators are on the scene.


EE's Note: I feel for these families, especially at this time of the year. 126, 128, 130 and 132 Beacon Avenue are just west of Central Avenue, just west of BJ's Delicatessen (formerly Joe's Delicatessen) and Joseph Cabala. Beacon runs east-west from Palisade Avenue to the Boulevard with Pinto's Pharmacy and Christ Hospital at Palisades and a Gas Station at The Boulevard. NJT's #87 stops at the corner of Beacon and Central. The next street west is Summit Avenue. St. Paul's Avenue, where Jotham W. Wakeman School P.S. 6 is, is the street south of Beacon.

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Thankfully, everyone is safe. The fire has been deemed accidental and likely caused by electrical wiring at 130. An update:


"Bad Wiring Is Blamed For Sunday Fire In Jersey City Buildings"


BY Michealangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal


"The three-alarm fire that left several families homeless after ripping through four Jersey City Heights buildings has been deemed accidental and likely started by electrical wires, officials said.


Arson investigators have determined that the blaze that engulfed 126, 128, 130 and 132 Beacon Avenue early Sunday was caused by faulty wiring between the second and third floors at 130 Beacon, Fire Department Director Armando Roman said yesterday.


A gas line in one of the buildings ruptured during the blaze, helping to feed the flames, Roman said, adding the flames were able to spread through the commom cockloft of the buildings.


Firefighters responded to the 12:38 a.m. alarm in the ice and snow, and the fire was not deemed under control until 8 a.m., Roman said, adding that the conditions made it one of the toughest fires the department has fought this year.


Several families living in the three story apartment buildings were left homeless, Roman said. One person suffering from asthma was taken to the Jersey City Medical Center as were two firefighters who suffered minor injuries.

The American Red Cross Of Northern New Jersey put up five families -- a total of twenty people -- in local motels. The other families are staying with relatives or friends.


City officials said 128, 130 and 132 Beacon Avenue will have to be torn down."


But a Hopkins Avenue resident and his Palisade Avenue friend weren't as lucky:


"Jersey City Cops: Man Robbed Of $9,000 At Gunpoint"


BY Michealangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal

December 21, 2009, 9:34 p.m.


"A Jersey City man who said he was carrying $9,000 got cleaned out when he and a friend were approached by a masked gunman in the Heights, officials said.


When police responded to Terrace Avenue at 5:23 a.m., the 33 year old Palisade Avenue man and 55 year old Hopkins Avenue man said the incident began while they were picking up a friend on Zabriskie Street, reports said.


They told police a man approached them near the friend's home, ordered them back into their car, and forced them to drive him around, reports said.


The gunman ordered them to hand over their money and told them to drop him off at Terrace Avenue and Thorne Street, where he ran away, reports said.


The Zabriskie Street friend said he ran away and called police when he saw the pair being forced into the car, reports said, adding that police searched the area but did not find the robber.


It wasn't clear from the police report which victim was robbed of the $9,000 or why he was carrying that much money.


Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call the Jersey City Police Department Tipline at (201) 915-1345."


EE's Note: Thorne Street dead ends soon west of Terrace Avenue before reaching Tonnelle Avenue; east, Thorne climbs a long hill to The Boulevard. Terrace Avenue is a nice residential street with Liberty Avenue one block and Columbia Avenue two blocks east. There is a park at this intersection. The old Central Avenue IBOA ran a Western Slope branch that served Liberty.

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