While the 25 people who lived in homes at 40A, 42, and 44 West 10th St. all escaped unharmed, their lives have been inextricably altered by the event on Thursday, Jan. 9 shortly after 1 p.m.
At that time, a four-alarm fire broke out in the rear of building number 44, spreading to the other buildings and forcing a two-hour battle by firefighters from several municipalities before the blaze was contained.
Three of those families were sheltered by the Red Cross, while the remaining tenants sought shelter with family and friends, according to Fire Chief Gregory Rogers.
On Friday, Mayor Mark Smith and Public Safety Director Jason O’Donnell visited with families displaced by the blaze. The 25 people, including nice children from seven families, lost everything in the fire, according to the mayor’s office.
“Mayor Smith has marshaled the resources of the city and the community to come to the aid of the affected families,” said Business Administrator Stephen Gallo. “Arrangements have been made for temporary housing and the mayor directed the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Foundation to assist the families with relocating to permanent housing.”
Smith said he was grateful that no one was hurt in the fire.
“We can always replace objects,” the mayor said, “We can never replace loved ones.”
How to donate
Smith’s office is coordinating a relief collection. Anyone seeking to donate new or used clothing or furniture in good condition is being asked to contact his office at (201) 858-6010 during normal business hours, or the Bayonne Police Department at (201) 858-6900 after hours, to arrange for a pickup.
“These people are left with just the shirts on their backs,” Smith said. “They will be starting over and they will need everything.” In addition to adult and children’s’ clothing, diapers and baby formula are being requested.
Mayor Smith praised the way the city has come together to help the families.
“Bayonne has always been such a caring community,” said Smith, “I’m humbled by all the people who have stepped up to help.” Smith specifically thanked Bill Archiello of Archie’s Cab Company and the Bayonne Walgreens for their leadership and donations.
The donations, which will be accepted by Smith’s office for the rest of the month, will be routed to the families needing the resources. Donation items sought are listed on the city website at http://www.bayonnenj.org/2014/01/10/help-victims-of-the-fire/.
On Friday, building department officials determined the homes “structurally sound,” but in need of “significant repair,” according to a report issued by Rogers.
“Tenants will not return until repairs [are made] and utilities are restored,” he said in the report.
The Jersey City, Hoboken, North Hudson, and Kearny fire departments responded under mutual- aid agreements.
One Jersey City firefighter received an electric shock, and was transported to the Jersey City Medical Center to be evaluated, according to the fire chief. He was later released and will be returning to work.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.