Mayor Says Everything Will Be Done To Ensure Residents Have Place To Stay

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An apartment building is being demolished after a massive fire.

Firefighters battled flames in the Avenel Section for more than eight hours and late Tuesday night, crews were taking down the building to knock out the flames.

Dozens of firefighters responded to the blaze at the apartment complex in the afternoon. More than 50 apartments in two buildings were affected by the fire.

It was a devastating afternoon and evening  as the fire and smoke continued to flare up, pouring out of windows and the rooftop. As a result, 50 families have been displaced, officials said.

Everyone has been accounted for, but at the height of the fire, residents in eight of the affected units were missing.  Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac at one point was on a loudspeaker, announcing names to the crowd.

Shrabani Mondal did get out, thanks to police officers who came knocking at her door just as the fire just started to rage.

“I just finished my shower and I heard the knock on the door…[the] whole living room was dark, jet black,” she told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

How the fire started is still a question, but why it burned so stubbornly, for so long, is clear. The older construction pre-dated current Woodbridge building codes requiring fire stops at the roof-line, fire officials said. So the flames and smoke spread quickly, from unit to unit, leaving dozens homeless.

“Everybody will do everything they can to make sure that these people have a place to stay, not only for tonight, but probably for the foreseeable future,” Mayor McCormac said.

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