UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.

The fire displaced three families, or eight residents total, according to a spokesperson for The American Red Cross.

The organization is providing them with emergency financial assistance to pay for temporary lodging, food and clothing.

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UPDATE, 4:17 p.m.

A two-alarm fire that tore through a French Street building earlier today, Dec. 12, has displaced an unknown number of New Brunswick residents, city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw said.

No one was injured in the fire, although people were inside the structure at the time of the incident.

A call for the fire at 185 French St. came in at 11:42 a.m., and city firefighters arrived on scene two minutes later and saw smoke billowing from three sides of the structure, Bradshaw said. The fire was “under control” by 12:04 p.m. but not before it caused extensive damage to apartments on the second and third floors of the building.

The structure, which also houses a check-cashing shop on the first floor, underwent smoke, fire and water damage. It is structurally sound, Bradshaw said.

Fire officials are in the process of determining when the check-cashing business may reopen.

“At this time, we don’t believe that the second and third floors are going to be reopened,” Bradshaw added.

The American Red Cross is relocating the residents of those apartments, she said. TAPinto New Brunswick has contacted the group and will update the story accordingly.

Officials have ruled the fire accidental, Bradshaw said. It began when the flame of a candle caught a nearby item, she said.

Original

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Firefighters are battling a blaze that has forced authorities to close part of French Street, between Alexander and Bethany streets, to motor vehicle traffic, city spokesperson Jennifer Bradshaw said.

 

A Breaking News Network alert came in at 11:47 a.m., reporting a fire with “heavy smoke” at 185 French St. A few minutes later, an update claimed that the fire is on the third floor of the mixed-use building.

Fire crews have since made “visible progress,” according to the latest alert.

The structure contains three apartments and a check-cashing shop, according to the real-estate website LoopNet.

It is unclear if anyone is hurt.

As the fire department is currently on scene, officials cannot yet deliver additional information, Bradshaw said. TAPinto New Brunswick will update this story accordingly.