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Fire Destroys Apartments, Businesses, Closes Route 46 In Clifton

421 Piaget Avenue, Clifton
421 Piaget Avenue, Clifton Photo Credit: BACKGROUND: Jo Fehl / INSETS: Dawn Fantasia, unknown

A multiple-alarm fire raged in Clifton on Wednesday, destroying apartments and businesses, closing Route 46 in both directions and sending up plumes of smoke that could be seen for miles.

A massive contingent of area firefighters converged on the mixed-use Piaget Avenue building after the blaze broke out in a second-floor apartment and then spread to the cockloft.

No serious injuries were immediately reported, nor was the cause of the fire immediately known.

The building houses two restaurants -- Aurora Ristorante and Zen Sushi -- two other businesses (Smoke Shop and Epic Cuts) and four upstairs apartments. 

Firefighters almost immediately went to an exterior attack after arriving around 2:30 p.m. An hour and a half in, the roof collapsed.

They continued to pour water on the blaze as the number of alarms reached five by early evening.

Nearby homes and businesses were evacuated as a precaution.

The building will have to be bulldozed, responders at the scene said.

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