The American Red Cross is helping 11 families after a devastating nighttime inferno left nearly 40 Newark residents without a place to sleep.
Firefighters rushed to Clifton Avenue around 2 a.m. Saturday for a fire that appeared to have started in an abandoned building in the neighborhood.
Eventually, the flames spread to two nearby homes and required a response to 3 alarms from firefighters, who continued to put water on the structures well after sunrise.
Authorities estimated that 39 people had been displaced by the fire, including 11 children. No injuries were reported immediately.
Neighbors said the blaze appeared to have started in a house that had been abandoned for several years – a home they said should have been on the city’s radar following countless complaints.
“It’s heartbreaking to see my house destroyed, my son’s belongings,” Blanca Fernandez said on Saturday morning. “It’s not easy, all the memories.”
Arson fire investigators attended the scene early Saturday morning, but so far no official cause of the fire has been revealed.
It’s also unclear when, or if, any of the houses’ residents will be able to return and sort out what’s left of the destruction.
“We have to start over,” Fernandez said.