Fire Rips Through Abandoned School In Newark

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An early morning fire ripped through an abandoned school building in Newark.

The fire broke out just before 11:30 p.m. Monday at the building on Bergen Street, which once housed the William H. Brown Academy, a grade school that was closed in 2010. Since then, the building has been vacant.

Firefighters responded to the fire and officials said crews had to force their way into the building to fight the flames. While a fire truck was still on the scene hours later, officials said the blaze reignited in the cockloft area, elevating the fire to three-alarms.

Throughout the firefight, what sounded like interior walls falling down could be heard, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported. Bricks and debris were seen on the ground.

One neighbor who lives nearby said the vacant building was known as a place for squatters to come and stay in.

“Maybe it got started when they was burning candles,” resident Tacuma Mutalow told Doris. “At night, when you walk past this building, you could see the reflection of the candles.”

The fire was finally brought under control around 5:43 a.m. Tuesday.

One firefighter was treated on the scene for a cut to the forehead, but no other injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Arson units from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and Newark’s Fire Division are investigating.

Anyone with information is asked to call the department’s 24-hour Crime Stopper tip line at 1-877-NWK-TIPS (1-877-695-8477) or 1-877-NWK-GUNS (1-877-695-4867).  All anonymous Crime Stopper tips are kept confidential and could result in a reward.

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