20 residents displaced by fire that burned 5 Trenton homes


A three-alarm fire that ripped through five connected homes in Trenton’s West Ward late Monday left 20 people in six families temporarily without a home, officials said.

Despite the fire’s intensity at times, no residents or firefighters were injured on Colonial Avenue, the Trenton Fire Department said. The specific cause was under investigation Tuesday, but does not appear to be suspicious.

The fire started in the middle of a row of homes on the street, between West State Street and Route 29, at about 9:15 p.m.

Trenton firefighters were ready for such a fire there from years of experience dealing with the “unique” construction of the homes, and the street’s small size, which makes it difficult to get large ladder trucks on the block, Fire Battalion Chief Gus Tackacs said Tuesday.

The row only has fire-stop walls every four homes, and it’s difficult to tell from looking at them. “They are like no other homes in the city,” he said.

The fire appears to have started in the third floor of one home and basically shot left and right, spreading to two homes on either side. Firefighters actively battled the fire until 12:15 a.m. Tuesday before Battalion Chief Todd Fell declared it under control, Tackacs said.

When it was over, it had grown to three alarms, which means all city fire companies were on scene – seven engines, three ladders and the rescue company. Fire companies from outside the city covered city firehouses and some responded to the scene, Tackacs said.

City inspectors will decide if any of the damaged homes have to be razed. The Red Cross of New Jersey is assisting the residents with temporary lodging, food and clothing needs, the agency said.

Kevin Shea may be reached at kshea@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find NJ.com on Facebook.



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