EDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An extra-alarm fire devoured an apartment complex and left hundreds of people homeless Wednesday evening in Edgewater, New Jersey.
As CBS2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the gargantuan blaze stretched for three city blocks. Late Tuesday night, sections of the apartment complex made the sound of small explosions as they collapsed.READ MORE: Long Island Hoping For Best But Bracing For Worst As Nor'easter Approaches: 'Get Prepared Now'
Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland said a state of local emergency has been declared for the municipality. Local schools will be closed on Thursday, and roads access will be restricted until further notice.
The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. At 6:05 p.m., all that was seen was smoke coming from one apartment window, when Chopper 2 was over the scene during CBS2’s 6 p.m. newscast, flames were seen raging on several floors of one building at 102 Russell Ave.
That was only the beginning. By 7:15 p.m., balls of fire were shooting into the sky.
The fire was raised to more than five alarms as embers spread and structures collapsed, according to Edgewater police. The fire grew so large that the flames were visible from Midtown Manhattan — and were even being picked up on the weather radar late Wednesday night.
People gasped at the scene on their ferry rides home along the Hudson River.