Child killed, church collapses in explosive Union City fires
UNION CITY — Sixty people were displaced and a child was killed in fires that torched several buildings and a church early Saturday morning.
ABC 7 Eyewitness News reported the 6-alarm fire started in one of two 3-story apartments at 14th Street and Summit Street around 2 a.m., sending residents into the street. A man was badly burned by the fire, according to the report.
Embers from the fire hit Sts. Joseph and Michael Church a block away on 14th and Central Ave, igniting the church and causing its steeple to collapse and explode as it hit the ground.
Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said winds are brisk this morning and straight out of the west in Hudson County. "The highest gust in that area this morning was 24 mph. That would certainly support the fire spreading eastward to the church."
Power was cut to the area because of the fire by PSE&G. The utility's outage map showed over 1,000 customers without power just before 9 a.m. on Saturday.
New Jersey Red Cross spokeswoman Diane Concannon told New Jersey 101.5 there were a number of people evacuated around the area of the fires as a safety precaution. 60 people have been assisted by the Red Cross, according to Concannon.
NJ Transit tweeted that its bus routes 83, 85 and 87 will operate on a detour.
Zarrow said that the combination of strong winds and dry air, New Jersey's fire danger will be elevated on Saturday."That means conditions are not only more conducive for fires to start, but it also may be more difficult for firefighters to control any blaze that breaks out."
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.