A four alarm fire broke out in a five-story building at 300 Washington St. on Sunday night, causing multiple evacuations and some minor smoke-related injuries on Sunday night.
According to one source at the scene, the fire started at New Hoboken Farm, the grocery store on the ground floor, and worked its way up to the fifth floor. The rest of the five story building is residential.
As of 11 p.m., the fire was under control but not yet out. The building—as well as surrounding buildings—would be put on fire watch through the night and Washington Street was blocked off between Second and Fourth Streets.
While officials said there was nobody left inside the building, they couldn't tell how many people were evacuated exactly.
At 10 p.m., bright orange flames—visible from blocks away—were still shooting out of the windows of the building. The fire, mostly in the back of the building, spread to all five floors a little after 9 p.m. A smoke cloud covered Washington Street with debris flying everywhere.
One man who appeared to be in his 40s was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation, but there were no major injuries, city spokesman Juan Melli said. Two people were treated on the scene and released, Melli said. As far as officials could tell, there were no people in the building. Two firefighters were also being treated for smoke inhalation.
Around 10 p.m. the fire had not spread to other buildings and it was still unclear if it would. One fireman on the scene said it was "possible." A fire truck is parked on Third Street, monitoring the fire and making sure it doesn't spread to surrounding buildings, including McDonald's on the other corner, said Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who was at the scene on Sunday Night.
Barricades were set up to keep a crowd of spectators away from the scene.
Around 9:11 p.m., police radio reported that there was "heavy fire on all five floors," with all the responders still "heavily engaged."
Around 9:45, the fourth and the fifth floor of the building partially collapsed with fire still blazing from the building's windows and heavy smoke.
Eye witnesses at the scene said that the fire department had to use a saw to get into the building when the fire broke out around 7 p.m. Around 7:30, one couple walking by said they saw people on the roof of the building next door, beaming a flashlight down trying to get people to rescue them. Presumably, these were residents of the burning building.
Nicole Moldovan, another eye witness, said that the woman on the roof next door "had a look of sheer terror on her face."
A temporary shelter for those misplaced was set up at the Multi Service Center at Second and Grand Streets, Melli said.
Hoboken fire and police responded, as did the fire departments from Bayonne, Newark and East Newark.