5-alarm fire burns through 3 homes in Elizabeth
Updated at 06:45 AM today
ELIZABETH, N.J. (WABC) -- Residents in Elizabeth, New Jersey, are surveying the damage after a five-alarm inferno destroyed several townhouses.
At least one firefighter was injured, and a number of people are now homeless.
Firefighters have been on the scene at 597 Monroe Avenue all night long and are expected to remain at the scene throughout the day. The fire started around 8:30 p.m. in the rear of one of the townhouses and quickly spread to a second.
Officials say it moved so fast that firefighters at first they couldn't tell which house it started in. Soon, smoke filled the neighborhood, held down by atmospheric conditions that produced a smothering blanket that settled over the area.
Area residents who came outside wondering what was going on were forced to cover their mouths and noses with their clothing.
Two people suffered smoke inhalation. One firefighter was treated for a shoulder injury.
About a dozen of nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution. Those residents were allowed to return around 1 a.m.
The blaze destroyed three townhouses before firefighters brought it under control.
Officials believe the fire started when a dog knocked over a candle.
The Red Cross is helping relocate displaced residents and crews early Wednesday demolished what was left of the structures.