Yesterday, Jersey City was aglow in hellfire. Three separate fires were simultaneously burning on the morning of August 8. All 135 Jersey City firefighters on duty were working the fires and 70 firefighters from neighboring areas like North Hudson Fire and Rescue, Hoboken, Secaucus, Newark, Nutley and Harrison joined the fight. 14 firefighters were injured at the fire on our block alone.
One man jumped from his second floor apartment and lived. The apartment building with all 22 apartments ablaze was on the corner of our block and it burned hard starting at 6:00am.
The Fire Department of Jersey City fought that fire for five hours and, after the building stopped actively burning, the firefighters doused the empty shell with water for another three hours to make sure no live embers survived.
I counted at least four pump trucks working the fire. Even if you aren’t in the midst of a major fire you cannot help but see just how an event affects an entire neighborhood. Water pressure is lost. Electricity is cut. Entire families watch in bare feet on the street as their property and wishes swirl into smoke and flames along the sky.
Fires are messy.
They leave behind mangled iron and wrought lives and tons of wet, black, ash in the streets. After the Fire and Police arrived on the scene to manage the burning on our block, an American Red Cross van arrived and parked in the middle of our street to offer help and assistance to those who were now homeless.
One cannot help but wonder, if you had 10 seconds to vacate your burning home, what would you try to save beyond yourself, your pets and your beloveds? A computer? A backup harddrive? Books? Clothes?
No one died in any of the fires and while that fact must not be lost on those who survived, one cannot help but have great sorrow for neighbors who must now find a way to start living again from nothing.