Posted March 12, 2013 EST
Backdraft Injures Firefighters At Harrison Fire
(New Jersey) -
A five alarm fire that required responses from departments from three counties produced a backdraft that injured five firefighters and destroyed two structures in Harrison on March 10th. At about 11:00 AM, a passing police officer noticed smoke issuing from a two story brick building at 600 Frank E. Rodgers Blvd. and alerted the fire department. About forty people were evacuated from a second floor church as firefighters arrived. Heavy fire in the rear put up a column of black smoke that was seen for miles. Mutual aid was called as the flames spread to an attached two story frame.
Additional units were called for as lines were stretched into both buildings and the heavy fire was knocked down. Companies appeared to be making progress and the smoke condition lightened, when the heat rose greatly on the second floor of the original building. All members were ordered out and as they exited, a backdraft occurred in the rear of the structure, blowing some down the stairs and out into the street. Four firefighters were injured and transported to Jersey City medical Center with injuries ranging from cuts from flying glass, to burns and a concussion. None of the injuries were deemed life threatening.
After the explosion, all operations went defensive. Eventually five ladder pipes were put into operation along with handlines and stangs. Additional resources were called for water supply to all the master streams and to rotate manpower. At 4:30 the fire was placed under control with both building’s roofs collapsed in, but no major extension was found on any of the exposure buildings. No civilians were injured, but seventeen were reported to have been left homeless. The Saint Patrick’s Parade that was scheduled to pass along Frank E. Rodgers Blvd had to be re-routed.
Written and photos by Bill Tompkins
Courtesy of BTFirePhotos - User-Submitted Photo Story