Dozens of residents escape 4-alarm fire in Paterson that damaged 3 homes

Officials say the fire started around 12:30 p.m. on the 700 block of East 18th Street. No one was hurt.

Chris Keating

Apr 16, 2024, 6:58 PM

Updated 39 days ago

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A fire in Paterson had people running from smoke and flames along the 700 block of East 18th Street Tuesday afternoon.
Paterson fire officials tell News 12 New Jersey that the fire damaged three residential buildings and forced about 45 people from their homes. Those families in need will be getting help from the American Red Cross.
The fire engulfed the rear of all three floors of one of the apartment buildings.
Ladder trucks with the Paterson Fire Department clogged East 18th St. around 12:30 p.m. as firefighters made it to the neighborhood within three minutes to put down the flames. The most severe damage was on the rear of 790 East 18th Street where the fire is believed to have started.
Veronica Almonte lives on the third floor.
“When I got out of my room, my kitchen was already on fire,” Almonte said. “I’m grateful that we all made it out of the house alive.”
She says she was getting ready in her bedroom to go to work when a relative yelled for her to get out.
She left with her car keys and nothing else of importance before the apartment burned.
“I’m lucky I remembered to put my shoes on and grab my keys of my car,” Almonte said. “But I don’t have any clothes right now.”
Jose Diaz lives two doors down at 760 East 18th St. with his mother - whom he was consoling - while waiting for firefighters to clear out to see if their apartment survived.
Diaz says his brother smelled the smoke before him.
“I was sleeping when my brother woke me up talking about there was a fire and I just grabbed my stuff as quickly as I could and I went outside. The smoke was getting too heavy inside the house.”
Fire Chief Alejandro Alicea says no one was injured. When his firefighters arrived all tenants had escaped.
“They found a heavy volume of fire in the main fire structure which is in the rear of the structure extending to the upper floors and eventually extending to the house to the right,” the chief said.
Alicea says an investigation is now underway to figure out what started this fire.


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