A potentially dangerous two-alarm fire, thought to have been caused when a space heater touched some bedding in a utility room in the basement, spread quickly through the first two floors of a Kennedy Boulevard home in North Bergen Sunday, killing a dog and routing three families from their residences.
According to North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue Chief Brion McEldowney, the fire at 2525 Kennedy Blvd. last Sunday morning could have been much worse.
“Any time a fire happens in a densely built area like that, there’s a great potential for spreading,” McEldowney said. “Not only did a quick response help, but the aggressive attack of the fire by our men helped prevent it from spreading. With more manpower and apparatus, it becomes more of a blitzkrieg situation.”
According to the reports, the fire was called into NHRFR headquarters at 8:30 Sunday morning. Smoke was already coming out of the upper floors of the three-story structure, which had a wood frame and was a potential hazard to burn quickly.
“The fire apparently started in the utility room in the basement, then spread to the first floor,” McEldowney said. “The firefighters were able to make an aggressive interior attack to prevent the fire from spreading further.”
According to the reports, the basement sustained considerable damage and the intense fire burned right through the floor of the first floor.
“But it was contained there,” McEldowney said. “It did not get into the walls.”
After the fire was brought under control by 11:30 a.m., it was determined that a family pet was still in the facility and unaccounted for. Firefighters found the deceased canine in the first floor, more than likely overcome by smoke.
The families who were displaced were immediately relocated by the Red Cross.
McEldowney said that one civilian was treated at the scene by emergency medical personnel with minor injuries that did not require hospitalization. Three NHRFR firefighters were also injured during the fire, sustaining minor shoulder injuries, but they were able to remain on duty after also receiving treatment.
While the fire’s official cause has not been revealed and the fire is still under investigation, McEldowney has been led to believe that the space heater set some bedding on fire.
“That just relates to carelessness and you can’t have that in the winter,” McEldowney said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with using a space heater, but there are times that the space heater is set too close to combustibles like a bed spread or a sheet.”