ELIZABETH, NJ – The entire Elizabeth Fire Department, assisted by several neighboring fire departments, battled a four-alarm blaze tonight that began in an unoccupied home at 78 Marshall Street.

The fire began at approximately 4:28 on the second floor of the three-story, newly built home. A heavy smoke condition developed from the deep seated fire that quickly spread throughout the building to the roof. Homes on both sides were damaged, although no injuries to the residents were reported. New York Fire Department reported receiving calls from Staten Island residents about the smoke. The fire was under control at approximately 6:30 p.m.“This was a difficult fire due to the wind and cold weather,” said Deputy Chief Lathey Wirkus. “This was a big one.”

Although the cause of the fire is under investigation, area resident Melvin Smith said that he believed homeless people often took refuge in the vacant house.

The Elizabeth fire department was assisted by Union, Linden, Hillside, Roselle, Rahway, and Westfield fire departments.