PATERSON, NJ (UKTN) – Six families are homeless and a firefighter is recovering from his injuries after a fire spread to two adjacent homes in Paterson on Sunday.
“’There’s a fire. Get out,” Jose Rodriguez told UKTN’s Cory James.
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Rodriguez has heard these words more than once.
“The second time there were screams. “Fire in the basement!” Move, move, move! He said.
And that’s when he jumped in and took action.
“I started looking for things to save. The cat was inside. I throw her outside. I take the dog, ”Rodriguez said.
During these frantic moments, the flames spread rapidly.
It happened so fast. I could feel the heat, ”he says.
The heat came from a fire that broke out in the basement of a multi-family house. But it didn’t stop there. Ring camera footage also shows him spilling over into the neighboring multi-family home near Temple Street and Circle Avenue.
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“It’s just sad,” said Sharonda Roberts, who lives on the first floor with her three children.
She watched helplessly as everything she was working for burst into flames.
“We have lost everything. I have to start all over again. It’s like starting from the bottom, ”said Roberts.
Paterson Deputy Fire Chief Frank Calamita said it was unclear how the fire was started. He told James it was a hot, smoky fire that the 23 residents were able to escape to safety.
“I feel bad for the displaced people. I’m just glad no one got hurt, ”Calamita said.
And that’s what a father and a husband felt, as he consoled his wife in front of their apartment.
“I never see anything like this. I don’t know where I’m going, you know, ”he said.
But they all know that despite what has been lost, they still have each other.
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“It’s a blessing. I’m grateful that all the families have come out, ”said one person.