Five Secaucus firefighters sent to hospital, condo residents displaced

SECAUCUS – A three-alarm fire on Friday evening, Aug. 23, took one and half hours to control, injured six firefighters, and forced the evacuation of residents from several units at the Harmon Cove condominiums, town officials said.
Secaucus firefighters responded to the blaze at Harmon Cove’s Teal Plaza at 5:45 p.m.
Firefighters from 10 departments in Hudson and Bergen counties joined in the effort, as per the Mutual Aid agreement, according to Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Schoch. All of Secaucus’s firefighters were at the fire, and at one point, more than 100 firefighters from several towns were involved.
The adjacent Meadowlands Parkway was shut down for a couple of hours, according to Councilwoman Susan Pirro.
Six firefighters were injured, and five were sent to the hospital, officials said. Two of the five were kept overnight. No residents were injured. Many of the occupants were not in the buildings when the fire broke out, not having arrived home from work yet.
The fire is believed to have started at 495 Teal Plaza, officials said. Unit numbers 496, 497 and 498 were also heavily impacted by the fire and the efforts to put it out, Pirro said. Altogether, 12 units were affected in some way.
The fire was hard to extinguish because the units are attached, and because it spread through ceilings, walls, and floors.
The deputy chief said it was the first major fire in the development in almost two and a half years.
On Saturday morning, building and fire inspectors were investigating onsite. A cause of the fire had not been determined as of Monday.
Eight families were relocated to the Meadowlands Empire hotel for three nights by the town Office of Emergency Management, Pirro said. A couple more were placed at an extended stay facility in town, according to Mayor Michael Gonnelli.
“We’re finding places for them,” Gonnelli said. “We’re doing anything we can to help.”
Pirro said some of the displaced families were receiving new clothes from the town through its partner organization, Fashion Delivers, at 79 Metro Way.
Gonnelli said that the town was working with the Board of Education to help one of the affected, a teacher.
The mayor asked that anyone that can help the families out in any way should call his office at (201) 330-2005. A fundraiser for the fire victims is being planned. –Joseph Passantino

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