The Paterson Fire Dispatch started receiving calls for a building fire on Market Street. Responding units from the 1st Battalion could see smoke in the area while en route and found a two-story commercial building with a single-story setback with heavy fire on the first floor. A second alarm was requested as companies began an offensive attack. On arrival of Chief Calamita, a third alarm was requested and all member were ordered out of the building. A Mayday was sounded for a member who fell through the roof, though, thankfully, he was quickly removed and transported to the hospital with minor injuries. A large column of black smoke was visible for miles and traffic on Interstate 80 started backing up as rubberneckers watched the fire, which was located right off the highway. At 0956 Chief of Department Brian McDermott requested a fourth alarm and also to have the water company boost pressure in the area as the building became heavily involved. A total of four elevated streams, two deck guns, as well as numerous handlines and ground monitors were put into service. A collapse zone was established when the roof caved in and the Alpha and Delta walls showed obvious signs of imminent collapse. At 1110, a fifth alarm was requested for manpower and relief purposes, as all crews were still heavily engaged.
At approximately 1300 command reported all mutual aid companies released from the scene but city companies continued operating for an extended period of time awaiting demolition. No other injuries were reported and the origin and cause of the fire was under investigation.
– Fire News photos by Peter Danzo