ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Firefighters managed to prevent a 4-alarm fire that swept through a row of stores in Elizabeth from reaching adjacent homes.
The fire broke out around 5 a.m. Thursday at a strip mall on South Broad Street and destroyed six businesses.
The roof collapsed and firefighters had to wage their battle in bitter cold. Icicles formed on nearly every surface and made fighting the fire that much more difficult.
“We did have a pretty good collapse of roof of structure so we have everybody back at safe distance so nobody else gets injured,” said Fire Chief Tom McNamara.
Ann Marie Radacovsky lives in the house next door to where the fire started. Seconds after smelling smoke, she said firefighters were knocking on their front door.
“The fireman says you have to get out I said I have my cats. He said you have to leave them, then he said you can go get them,” she said. “I only was able to get one. I don’t know if the other ones are OK.”
The businesses were closed at the time. Among the shops ravaged by the fire was a Chinese restaurant, a spa, a mattress store and a church that has been at the location for seven years.
“Very sad,” said Pastor Santiago Arenas. “You can imagine the emotion that is going through everybody right now, but we put everything in the hands of God.”
The cause of the fire remains unclear, but fire officials believe it started in the front of the Chinese restaurant and then spread, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
There are no reports of any injuries.
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