MONTCLAIR, NJ - A three-alarm fire ripped through a four-story building at 192 Claremont Avenue around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, TAPinto Montclair first reported.
The fire was showing from the interior ceiling on the second floor and went through to the third floor and then the fourth before firefighters could get it under control. Belleville engine, Paterson engine and a Caldwell truck arrived to the scene to assist. Several other fire departments also responded to provide mutual aid including East Orange, Cedar Grove, Livingston, Mt. Laurel, Nutley and Bloomfield.
At approximately 8 p.m., the fire was placed under control and the overhaul and checking began. Animal control officials arrived on the scene and two cats, as well as other pets were rescued and safely returned to their owners.
Terrance Wilson, a Grammy-nominated classical pianist, lived on the fourth floor and stated that he left his apartment briefly to grab a bite to eat. "As soon as I turned the corner, I could smell the smoke and see them fighting the fire." He lived two floors above the second floor apartment where the fire started. When he returned, Wilson said that his entire apartment was in flames.
Wilson was in tears as he pondered the losses of his prized possessions, including his Grammy memorabilia, music scores and his piano. "This is how I make may living," Wilson sorrowfully expressed. His friends arrived shortly thereafter to comfort him.
As neighbors stood around in shock, they speculated as to what may have started the blaze. In their own sorrow, they also began to discuss planning a benefit to help their fellow residents, including Wilson.
Laura George, an accomplished flutist, lived in the building on the second floor and reported hearing loud fire alarms. She said that, as the fire alarms rang out, neighbors came around to warn one another to evacuate. George said, "When the fire alarms went off, they were very loud and I looked in the hallway and didn't see anything. I put some shoes on to see what was going on and when I got down to the first floor in the lobby, there was so much smoke." George says that when she got outside, she saw smoke pouring out of the second floor window.
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There were no reported injuries. The matter is under investigation.