‘Squatter house’ fire spreads to 3 homes in Paterson
PATERSON — More than two dozen people were displaced by two fires on Friday.
One of the fires started in a vacant building on Rose Street in Paterson and spread to three adjacent buildings on the block, according to Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes, who said no residents were injured. One firefighter suffered a non-life threatening injury while putting out the flames.
Paterson Councilman Luis Velez told ABC 7 Eyewitness News the home where the fire began was a house where "squatters and the homeless" get into despite being boarded up numerous times. A neighbor said kids party in the house and drug dealers also used the house.
Three of the four buildings will have to be demolished.
The American Red Cross' New Jersey chapter helped 16 people from five families with temporary shelter, food and clothing.
Another fire broke out Friday afternoon 12 blocks to the north on Harrison Street, where another 13 people from two families were helped by volunteers, according to the Red Cross.
Valdes said both fires remain under investigation.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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