The fire still smolders on blocks of charred buildings at Woodbridge Village in Avenel. But amongst the wreckage stir detectives and fire officials, churning the ruins for clues to the cause.
"We're conducting an investigation. We're still looking for some of the residents," said Avenel Fire Official Corey Spillar, sounding tired after a day and night of firefighting.
No one was seriously injured in yesterday's fire that took out two enormous buildings in the . Spillar meant that he believes all the residents were safe; he couldn't get ahold of some of the Woodbridge Village residents because in the rush to avoid dying in a fire, they left their cell phones behind.
That's why "we're having trouble contacting some of the tenants," Spillar said.
The fire began approximately 3 pm Tuesday and quickly ate through two of the buildings, once former warehouses converted into apartments around 1979. The fire kept cropping back up all night long; the firemen left at 3:30 am in the early morning, one firefighter said, only to come back an hour later when the sparks in the ruins fired up yet again.
They finally called it quits around 5:30 am.
Spillar said that detectives and fire experts believe they've narrowed down the origin of the blaze. The cause, though, "may take weeks" to determine, Spillar said. He noted that the fire department was now waiting on "sniffing dogs" from the state to help determine the exact origin of the fire.
The buildings didn't have a fire surpression or detection system. All that was required in the apartments were hard-wired smoke detectors and a carbon monixide system, Spillar said.
One firefighter was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, and he was treated and released. Amazingly, none of the appear to have been injured.
"I had a report that someone was taken to the hospital for a minor injury, but I can't confirm that," Spillar said.
About 90 minutes into the blaze Tuesday, ammunition kept in one of the apartments began popping off. Spillar said it's not unusual for fires to get near guns and ammo, but usually nothing happens.
That is because, he said, that the fires "aren't hot enough to ignite it."
In the Woodbridge Village inferno, though, the fire was more than hot enough to cause the ammunition to explode.
"That doesn't often happen," Spillar said.
To help victims of the Woodbridge Village fire, go to this link.