As residents of a Passaic apartment building begin the process of recovery from a massive 8-alarm fire, some residents say they did not hear any alarms go off as the fire spread.

Residents  told CBS New York they were unaware of the fire until they heard people screaming in the hallway and frantic knocks on their door.

“The alarms didn’t work last night,” resident Nathaniel Dickson said. “Somebody was in the hallway telling us to get out of the building, I didn’t know whether it was a fire or not. I just looked outside and they told us to leave the building.”

Construction Official John Miskovsky referred a call from New Jersey 101.5 about alarms  to Michael E. Shafrin of the Fire Prevention Bureau. Shafrin's office said he was at the scene of the fire on Gregory Avenue and could not comment.

City spokesman Keith Furlong said 350 to 400 residents were displaced by the fire, with many staying at the Dr. Martin Luther King School, which was opened by the American Red Cross as a shelter. The Red Cross and city government officials were at Passaic City Hall to assist residents with issues from getting medications replaced to finding a new place to live.

The Red Cross of South Jersey was assisting its North Jersey counterpart in the effort:

The fire remains under investigation and Furlong would not speculate on a cause of the fire.


Mayor Alex Blanco in a statement said there were no fatalities or major injuries as a result of the fire.

“Passaic City is thankful to have received mutual aid from throughout Passaic and Bergen Counties," he said. "This was a dangerous fire that spread through a residential apartment building."

He said that the city will be organizing efforts to raise funds for all the families impacted.

“My wife, Aurora, and I will be reaching out to local businesses and non-profit groups to help coordinate joint efforts to help all those impacted," Blanco said.

Checks may be brought to the Mayor's office and made payable to City of Passaic / Fire Victims, 280 Gregory Avenue. Donations will be "distributed directly and fairly to all those impacted by these events" said Blanco.