At the Scene of the Fire

At 11am today.

Returning from the gym this morning, GA stopped by the scene of the fire at 3rd and Washington.

It's a shock to see.

Approaching from the north on Washington Street, I noticed a patch of bright blue sky visible through the 5th Floor window of the building's rear; sky where a roof used to be.

Crossing 3rd street, the full scope of destruction unfolds as you pass McDonald's- you can see the top of the building has caved in, and smoke is still exiting from what remains, as a water hose gushes to prevent an ember in the ruined wood-framed structure from rekindling.

The impact is visceral; you smell the acrid smoke, you feel the fine mist of water as he wind blows.

A small crowd stood around watching, and passers-by stopped to join.  A group of Asian men stood huddled on the corner, speaking Chinese, watching. GA assumes the owner(s) of the destroyed grocery store.

Reporters and cameramen roamed Washington Street, talking to people on the sidelines.  And HFD Chief Blohm stood in the middle of Washington Street, surveying the scene and giving interviews.

GA asked Chief Blohm if the building would need to be demolished.

"We can't make that determination, yet"

Now GA's an animal-lover.  Cats, in particular.  And I know the people all got out safely.  But what about pets?  I asked the Chief if any animals were in the building.

"A couple of cats.  They didn't make it."

Oh, G-d.  Poor things.

Whoever you are who lost your cats, GA sends you my sincere condolences. 

So what started the fire?  Of course, nobody knows yet.

But the consensus from eyewitnesses at the scene was that the fire started in the basement or first floor, and spread quickly through a dumbwaiter shaft.

The back of the building, on 3rd Street, got it the worst.

Such a lovely, historic building.  GA hopes the shell can be saved.  There is cornice damage to the Washington Street side, but otherwise the facade seems intact. The 3rd street facade didn't fare as well, but hopefully it can be restored.  One hopes.

GA's thoughts go to those most affected by the blaze, the residents of 300 Washington.

A fundraiser will be held on Friday, March 2 at Room 84 (84 Washington) from 7 - 10pm.

Click here for details on Facebook.

Finally, thanks to our heroic HFD and fired departments assisting from outside Hoboken, for their selflessness and bravery, and for the wonderful job they've done.