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UPDATE: Aid Arranged For Fort Lee Fire Victims, Police Say Blaze Didn't Seem Suspicious

The fire apparently broke out in a southwest crawl space at the Edwin Avenue building.
The fire apparently broke out in a southwest crawl space at the Edwin Avenue building. Photo Credit: Werner R. Ennesser for DAILY VOICE

UPDATE: A fire that began in a crawl space and eventually destroyed a Fort Lee apartment building Thursday night didn’t claim any lives, produced three minor injuries and didn’t appear suspicious, authorities announced. Several measures were being taken to assist the victims, they said.

“The Red Cross, New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management and Fort Lee Office of Emergency Management are working together with other borough departments to provide assistance for the displaced residents,” Police Capt. Matthew Hintze said late Friday afternoon.

The borough established an official GoFundMe page: Victims of the Fort Lee Linwood Park Fire.

(NOT TO BE CONFUSED with another page, set up by an individual, called “Linwood Plaza, Fort Lee, NJ Fire Victims.”)

DONATIONS were being accepted at the Fort Lee Recreation Center, 1500 8th Street, at the bottom of Stillwell Avenue ONLY:

  • Until 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15;
  • From noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16 & 17.

ACCEPTED will be cash, checks (made payable to The Charitable Foundation for Fort Lee I), gift cards, basic toiletries and new clothing with tags.

NEEDED ITEMS include gift cards.

Toiletries are also needed, including but not limited to:

  • Combs/brushes
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap/body wash
  • Q-tips/cotton swabs
  • Toothbrushes/toothpaste
  • Tissue packs
  • Baby powder
  • Adult disposable briefs
  • Dental floss
  • Body lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Disposable razors

NEW Clothing with tags

NO used clothing and NO food will be accepted!

The Red Cross Resource Center for Residents & Citizens will be open at the Richard & Catherine Nest Fort Lee Senior Citizen Center, 319 Main Street, until 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15 and from 9-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.

Any displaced resident should speak to the Red Cross for instructions on acquiring temporary identification, lodging, donations, etc.

The fire broke out around 4 p.m. at 3011 Edwin Ave., a five-story building of 45 apartments behind the Linwood Plaza, in the southwest crawl space area, said Hintze, the police captain.

“The fire grew in intensity and size and required the response of multiple mutual aid fire departments,” he said.

Fire Command declared the fire under control around 9 p.m., the captain said.

Three firefighters were treated at area hospitals – one with a hand injury, another who slipped and fell, and a third for smoke inhalation – before being released, Hintze said. No other injuries were reported.

Fort Lee police, working with building management, accounted for all residents, the captain said.

“The cause and origin of the fire is being investigated by members of the Bergen County Prosecutors’ Office, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department, the Fort Lee Police Department and the Fort Lee Fire Prevention Bureau,” Hintze said.

“The source of the ignition is unknown and is still under investigation,” he added. “However, it does not appear to be suspicious.

“It appears the fire started in the southwest crawl space area," the captain said.

The building will have to be razed, authorities said.

Also responding:

  • Hackensack Mass Services Unit;
  • Hackensack Fire Department;
  • Leonia Fire Department;
  • Englewood Cliffs Fire Department;
  • Palisades Park Fire Department;
  • Cliffside Park Fire Department;
  • Fairview Fire Department;
  • Englewood Fire Department;
  • Ridgefield Fire Department;
  • Ridgefield Park Fire Department;
  • Bogota Fire Department;
  • Teaneck Fire Department.

Palisades Interstate Park Police, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and Cliffside Park police assisted with crowd and traffic control.

Emergency Medical Services were provided by Fort Lee EMS, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center and The Valley Hospital.

ALL PHOTOS: Werner R. Ennesser for DAILY VOICE

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