UPDATE: Firefighters doused a pair of Lyndhurst blazes less than two hours and barely a half-mile apart Wednesday morning, one of them in a public housing building filled mostly with seniors.
Two minor injuries were reported, said responders who credited a rapid response by police and firefighters who essentially ran from one two-alarm blaze to the next.
Police Sgt. Steve Passamano and Officer Nicolette Villani, responding to a 7:51 a.m. call, forced their way into an unoccupied third-floor unit of the five-story Joseph A. Carucci Apartments on Stuyvesant Avenue, Detective Lt. Vincent Auteri said.
Built in the 1980s specifically for seniors, the building has become a mixed-use complex that includes disabled tenants and those with special needs.
The third floor, along with the second and fourth, were evacuated and all other building tenants were directed to shelter in place, Auteri said.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, limiting the damage, with no injuries reported other than a police officer being treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, he said.
"It could have turned into a chaotic scene but didn't, thanks to the combined efforts of our police department, fire department, police emergency squad and police auxiliary in evacuating those floors," the lieutenant said.
Another call came in from a multi-family home on New Jersey Avenue at 9:41 a.m.
Again, a quick response limited the damage to a bedroom after Police Officer Nicholas Coviello and Lyndhurst Police Auxiliary Chief Wayne Alexander, who were in the area, rushed to the scene, the lieutenant said. Firefighters doused the blaze within minutes, he said.
Two first-floor tenants were treated at the scene -- one a 52-year-old man with smoke inhalation, the other a 24-year-old woman with superficial shin burns, Auteri said. A 15-year-old boy was unharmed, he said.
A woman in what authorities believe is an illegal basement apartment got out OK, as did a second-floor female tenant.
The Bergen County Arson Investigations Unit was summoned for both fires, although neither seemed suspicious. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Identification collected evidence.
Mutual aid responders at the scene or in coverage included firefighters from East Rutherford, Rutherford, Secaucus and North Arlington. Lyndhurst and North Arlington EMS also responded.
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