Paterson Fire Destroys Rehab Center


THAT IS RAISING CONCERNS. GOOD EVENING, I’M JESSICA MOORE ON CBS 2 AND STREAMING ON CBSN NEW YORK. CREWS ARE BATTLING A MASSIVE FIRE IN NEW JERSEY WHERE FLAMES BROKE OUT AT A REHAB CENTER. THE HEAVY SMOKE COULD BE SEEN FOR MILES AND HUNDREDS WERE EVACUATED. REENA ROY IS LIVE AT THE SCENE IN PATTERSON. REENA? Reporter: AND, JESSICA, FIREFIGHTERS HAVE BEEN ON SCENE FOR THE BETTER PART OF THE DAY HERE ON STRAIGHT STREET. AS YOU CAN SEE BEHIND US, IT’S AN ACTIVE FIRE AND ACTIVE SCENE. THIS FACILITY IS THE O’CONNOR HALL HALFWAY HOUSE. IT’S RUN BY THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW TREATMENT PROGRAM RUN BY CATHOLIC CHARITIES. IT’S HARD TO SEE FROM THIS VANTAGE POINT BUT IT’S BADLY DESTROYED. HOT SPOTS FLARED UP AGAIN. IT WENT UP IN FLAMES BEFORE 11:00 A.M. 200 CLIENTS HERE FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE REHAB WERE INSIDE AT THE TIME AND HAD TO BE EVACUATED TELLING US THE BUILDING HAD MULTIPLE COLLAPSES INSIDE AND A MASSIVE EXPLOSION THAT ROSE 300 FEET IN THE AIR BLOWING OUT THE ROOF AND ALSO SOME BRICKS. AUTHORITIES SAY THAT EXPLOSION WAS POSSIBLY CAUSED BY A TANK FILLED WITH SOME KIND OF HYDRAULIC FLUID. MAKING THINGS DIFFICULT IS THE STRUCTURE OF THE FACILITY IS OLD, MADE WITH HEAVY TIMBER IN THE 1900s AND THE CHIEF SAYS THAT THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE SPREAD VERY RAPIDLY AS PEOPLE WATCHED IN SHOCK. I JUST SEEN A WHOLE BUNCH OF FLAMES SHOOTING UP. SO, I IMMEDIATELY GOT MY FAMILY OUT AND MADE SURE EVERYBODY WAS SAFE. IT WAS VERY SCARY. I WAS IN THE SHOWER AND A FRIEND OF MINE CALLED ME AND TOLD ME IT WAS ON FIRE. I RAN OUT. I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT. I WAS LIKE, WOW, M-GOD. GLAD TO HEAR ALL THE PEOPLE GOT OUT. Reporter: LUCKILY NOBODY WAS HURT. OFFICIALS TELL US THAT THE BUILDING IS A TOTAL LOSS AND WILL LIKELY HAVE TO BE DEMOLISHED WHICH MEANS MANY PEOPLE THAT LIVE HERE IN THE HALFWAY HOUSE WILL BE GETTING HELP FROM THE RED CROSS TO FIND TEMPORARY HOUSING. IN THE MEANTIME, THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

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