Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Town of Dover Mayor James P. Dodd provides statement on massive fire that left over 80 residents displaced Monday.
According to authorities, on Oct. 22nd, at 3:29 p.m., a caller reported smoke in the basement of Barry’s Luncheonette, a business located in a commercial/residential building at 3 North Warren Street, in Dover.
Upon arrival, firefighters and police officers observed heavy smoke in the area and safely evacuated all occupants of adjacent structures. Thick smoke and the sound of fire was heard/observed throughout several adjoining buildings that house businesses and residences.
Officials say due to the significance of this fire, the Morris County Fire Mutual Aid Plan was put into effect, wherein the Morris County Office of Emergency Management, through its County Fire Coordinator, oversees the acquirement, deployment and management of the numerous mutual aid resources available through the plan in support of large firefighting operations.
The Dover Department of Public Works and Water Department, with the aid of the neighboring towns’ Public Works and Water Departments ensured sufficient water resources were available for suppression operations.
The fire quickly spread upward and outward, eventually venting through the roof of the adjoined buildings at 17 and 19 West Blackwell Street. The fire continued to spread northward to the adjacent buildings at 3, 5, 7 and 9 North Warren Street. Fire suppression efforts were undertaken externally by ground crews and aerial ladder apparatus from all sides of the structures.
According to authorities, several of the buildings collapsed during fire suppression operations. A police officer suffered a minor injury at the scene; otherwise there were no injuries reported. By 9 p.m., the fire was brought under control. Fire crews remained on scene overnight and throughout the day Tuesday due to smoldering debris and to assist in excavation/cleanup operations.
In total, 6 businesses / 10 apartments were completely destroyed, and 3 businesses / 6 apartments suffered smoke/water/heat damage, as follows:
El Paraisa Restaurant / two overhead apartments – 19 West Blackwell Street
La Notaria (notary public) – 17.5 West Blackwell Street
La Bamba Grill Mexican Restaurant – 17 West Blackwell Street
Four overhead apartments – 9 North Warren Street
Taqueria Brenda Lee Restaurant – 7 North Warren Street
Jocelyn Beauty Salon – 5 North Warren Street
Barry’s Luncheonette / four overhead apartments – 3 North Warren Street
Morris Thrift Store – 11 North Warren Street
Piñatas Las Flores (party supply store) – 21 West Blackwell Street
Dover Discount Store & six overhead apartments – 23 West Blackwell Street
Officials say approximately 80 residents have been either temporarily or permanently displaced. The American Red Cross is providing care for the affected families/residents (all donations are being managed through the Red Cross).
The investigation into the origin and cause of the fire is being conducted jointly by the Dover Police Department, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Fire/Environemntal Unit, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Bergen County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, NJ Division of Fire Safety Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The following agencies responded and assisted with operations at the scene:
Picatinny Arsenal FD
Rockaway Boro FD
Mine Hill FD
Parsippany Dist. 1 FD
Parsippany Dist. 5 FD
Chester Boro FD
Parsippany R&R FD
Parsippany Dist. 4 FD
Cedar Knolls FD
Washington Twp. FD
Parsippany Dist. 2 FD
Parsippany Dist. 6 FD
Morris Twp. FD
Morris Plains FD
Mt. Tabor FD
Jefferson Twp. FD
Rockaway Twp. FD
Schooley’s Mountain FD
Warren Co. Fire Task Force
Franklin Twp. FD
Byram FD Unit
East Hanover FD
Rainbow Lakes FD
NJ State Police
NJ Transit PD
NJ Dept. of Transportation
NJ Division of Fire Safety
Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms & Explosives
St. Clare’s Hospital EMS
Atlantic Health EMS
Photos: Town of Dover