BLOOMFIELD, NJ — A four-alarm fire involving three Charles Street buildings broke out Saturday, April 16. The location of the buildings are 42 , 44 and 46 Charles St.
Bloomfield Fire Chief Joseph McCarthy said the cause was still under investigation. The fire call came in at 6:19 p.m., he said in an email.
“All three buildings involved are three-stories tall, of wood-frame construction, and multiple-family apartments,” the chief said in the email.
Approximately 75 firefighters were involved in extinguishing the fire.
“All Bloomfield units responded,” McCarthy said in the release, “and we were assisted by numerous Essex County mutual-aid units
There were no reported civilian injuries but there were a few minor fire-service injuries, said the chief.
“Everyone living in 44 Charles is displaced,” the chief said in the email, “along with one apartment in each of 42 and 46 Charles St.”
The Red Cross, in a press release, said 22 people from six families were displaced.
Paula Peikes, the supervisor of Human Services for the township, said her department screened the fire victims and then connected them to appropriate organizations.
“We do a benefit screening to see what they lost,” she said. “There were people that couldn’t move their cars because they ran out from the fire without their keys.”
Peikes said there was an outpouring of support from the community.
A Bloomfield diner, and a Bloomfield supermarket, donated gift cards to the families.
Peikes said that on Saturday night she visited the victims who had been taken to the Bloomfield Civic Center.
Michael Sceurman, the Bloomfield Recreation Department director, said he received calls from Mayor Michael Venezia and the Bloomfield Police Department alerting him about the fire that night and gave him directions.
“We were instructed to get one of our buses and with the Red Cross, United Way, and Bloomfield EMS, took about a dozen residents to the Civic Center.’
Sceurman said the people’s names and addresses were recorded. A TV, with a cartoon program, was turned on.
“The kids were shaken up,” he said about the younger victims.
Sceurman said the Red Cross gave out debit cards to the victims.
“Paula Peikes also came over,” Sceurman said. “The township is working on donations of clothing and food. The goal of the Civic Center is to be a central hub of the town.”
The center opened for the emergency at 8:30 p.m. No one stayed overnight, and by 11:30 p.m. the last family had departed.
“There was one family that was hit the hardest,” Sceurman said. “After the Red Cross gave them a debit card, I think they went to a hotel.”