Bound Brook vows to rebuild downtown after massive fire
BOUND BROOK — Bound Brook Mayor Bob Fazen vows that his borough will come back again from disaster after fire destroyed an under construction apartment building and three other buildings on Sunday night.
The five-story Meridia apartments were quickly engulfed in flames on Mountain Avenue just before 8 p.m. and took several hours to be brought under control after firefighters were able to contain it to the Mountain Avenue area. Flames could be seen for miles, and embers from the fire sparked some small brush fires.
Bound Brook Borough Councilman Abel Gomez said the Meridia included 174 apartments and retail space. Gomez said the apartment complex across the street — also under construction — had space for 60 residential units and a restaurant.
Fire crews remained at the scene all day Monday to douse any potential hot spots and the the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Fire Investigation Unit along with fire officials from Bound Brook, Somerset County, state and federal investigators began their investigation into the cause of the fire.
NJ Transit's Bound Brook station is back in operation on the Raritan Valley Line but police strongly suggest using another station as parking is limited because of streets that remain closed.The station was closed temporarily due to the fire.
Bound Brook municipal court will be closed on Tuesday, according to Bound Brook police.
Many of the 100 residents who live in the immediate area of the fire are still not allowed to return home because of safety concerns, according to Bound Brook police. Those in need of temporary housing should contact the Somerset County Department of Social Services at 908-526-8800.
The American Red Cross said on Monday it was assisting 24 people from 11 families.
The Bound Brook Revitalization Partnership on its Facebook page said the Salvation Army is accepting donations of clothing, blankets, personal care items and cleaning products to assist the displaced residents. Items can be dropped off at the Salvation Army office located at 108 Hamilton Street in Bound Brook.
Fazen told Patch of Bridgewater that he thinks the fire will set the development back by a year but said the borough would rebuild.
Gomez said the destroyed complexes were developed with private funding and within the downtown redevelopment zone. The area had suffered a series of floods over the past two decades, and the apartments were supposed to be part of a downtown renaissance following the 2016 completion of a flood control project.
“Bound Brook was in the process of a renaissance,” Gomez said. “After all the floods we’ve had here, and now we have this fire.”
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report
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