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Massive N.J. Fire Forces Residents From Their Homes

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Photo from WCBS 880's Levon Putney

Photo from WCBS 880’s Levon Putney

Christine Sloan thumbnail Christine Sloan
Emmy-award winning journalist Christine Sloan joined CBS 2 News in...
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KEANSBURG, N.J. (CBS 2 / WCBS 880) — It was fast and furious – a massive fire on the Jersey Shore forced residents from their homes in the middle of the night.

The inferno so intense it leveled a condo complex and destroyed another apartment building next door, leaving dozens homeless, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reports

The only two things left standing were elevator shafts. Everything else was gone on Monday. The entire building was leveled as those huge flames moved in. The inferno roared through the empty condo complex on Beachway just after 1:30 a.m., and then jumped the street, engulfing a 24-unit apartment building.

“I walked outside in the front of my house and it was raining fire and cars were exploding,” one resident said.

Added resident Vince Modano: “There was flames shooting 60 feet into the air — all kinds of explosions.”

The intense fire leveled the condo complex under construction and burned several cars. Residents like Brooke Torres said they barely made it out of the occupied and surrounding buildings before running for cover and trying to dodge the flames.

“I could hear people screaming, didn’t think anything of it until someone knocked on my door to get outside,” Torres told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

It’s a miracle no one was injured.

Gas crews spent Monday drilling into the ground. Investigators said they’re looking at everything, including arson and complaints by residents.

“Every now and then children were in there but it was secure — patrols made routine checks,” Deputy Police Chief Michael Pigott said.

Considering what could have happened if residents had been trapped inside what is now a shell of a building, many in this neighborhood should feel thankful.

Residents who were evacuated were given vouchers for motels by the American Red Cross.

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