Last week's five-alarm inferno on 65th and Jackson streets, began at about 12:45 p.m. and burned through the night up to Saturday, according to officials.
Earlier this week, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue (NHRFR) investigators teamed up with fire officials of West New York, the state Division of Fire Safety and Hudson County Prosecutors to investigate the causes of the inferno.
Officials hoping to begin their work earlier this week were delayed as a result of hot spots and still smoldering fire on the site.
According to Fire Chief Brion McEldowney, West New York construction officials are working with the homeowner and his insurance company to finalize the site's evaluation and determine whether the building is indeed safe or if it will have to be torn down.Upon finally gaining access to the building on Wednesday, investigators performed an "extremely thorough" examination of the site, but sadly were unable to determine a real cause of the fire, said the chief.
The investigation officially concluded on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. but may resurface in the future if new evidence comes up.
In order to begin investigations, part of the front of the factory had to be torn down to make it safe for investigators to enter, said McEldowney, but now it is up to the owner to secure the property via leveling the site.
Officials said investigators took a "personal risk" in exploring the dangerous building but the inculpable site did show that there were no signs of arson or foul play.
Approximately 20 companies along with 80 firefighters and officers showed up to fight the flames on Friday, said McEldowney.
The fire began when a female worker, upon smelling fire "ran out of the factory and started alerting neighbors to leave their houses," said local resident Joanne Pahlack.
The one-story factory was a center for costume jewelry and according to neighbors was always active.
Pahlack, who lives just three houses north from where the blaze took place, said that "in a matter of seconds it [the factory] was engulfed in flames."
According to McEldowney the fire was under control by 7 p.m. on Friday, although officially, the fire was considered extinguished by 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The fire claimed no victims although it caused "very extensive damage" and ruined four other homes.
A neighboring two-story home north of the factory suffered heavy damage to the second floor of the house. The fire burned through the roof as firefighters fought to control the blaze from outside.
One of the homes south of the factory managed to receive protection according to McEldowney and suffered "little to no damage."
Two other homes underwent damages ranging from moderate to heavy, according to officials.
The American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey set up a reception center on the corner of 65th St. and Jackson streets to provide shelter for any families that may have been displaced as a result of the fire.
Director of Communications Michelle Lemieux said the American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey only put up one displaced family at a local hotel.
According to Lemieux, the other families found housing on their own.
McEldowney later congratulated the quickness of the NHRFR and their performance.
"We were able to get resources, apparatus' and trained firefighters to prevent the fire from spreading," he said.
"Any time you get to a four building fire, you've got your hands full and [the blaze proved] the benefits of having a regional fire department."
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