UPDATE: “Everything worked the way it was supposed to,” Wood-Ridge Police Chief Joseph Rutigliano said after borough firefighters stopped flames from a cardboard trash bin from entering an apartment complex owned by the same company that operated one in Edgewater that was destroyed in a January blaze.
Police and firefighters evacuated all 200 units of Avalon at Westmont Station — people and pets — after smoke entered a hallway and alarms sounded around 9 p.m. They were back inside within two hours.
“The concern was that it’s another Avalon building,” Rutigliano told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “But in this case the worst fears never materialized.
“The alarms went off, officers evacuated everyone, the Fire Department responded immediately and the fire never entered the building,” he said.
Detective Joseph Rutigliano Jr. and Fire Marshal Joseph Castiglia determined that the blaze, which began in a corner of the bin, wasn’t suspicious.
They also found cigarette butts on two levels overlooking the bin, the chief said.
Flames leapt onto the building and climbed three stories before the first pumper to the scene knocked them down, Rutigliano said.
Among those responding to the complex off Passaic Street or for mutual aid coverage were a Wallington FAST and engines from Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights, Lodi, Lyndhurst and Rutherford. Mayor Paul Sarlo was also there.