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UPDATE: Fatal Fire in Bergen County Under Investigation by Prosecutor's Office


By: Richard L. Smith 

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella has provided an update on the ongoing investigation into a fatal fire that ravaged a residence at 850 Broad Avenue in Ridgefield in the early hours of Wednesday, March 6, 2024.Ad The investigation is jointly conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, led by Acting Chief Matthew Finck, and the Ridgefield Police Department, under Chief Thomas Gallagher.

The deadly incident was first reported to the Ridgefield Police Department at approximately 2:21 a.m. on March 6. Officers from the Ridgefield Police, alongside members of the Ridgefield Fire Department, quickly responded to the scene.

The fire-fighting efforts saw collaboration from several area fire departments.

During these operations, the body of 42-year-old Xavier Contreras was discovered on the main floor of the affected residence.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Task Force was immediately notified and took charge of investigating the fire's origin and cause.AdAs of now, this remains an active investigation, with no further details released to the public.

Prosecutor Musella expressed his gratitude towards the multiple agencies that have contributed to the investigation.

These include the Ridgefield Police Department; fire departments from Ridgefield, Palisades Park, Fairview, Cliffside Park, Little Ferry, and Carlstadt; the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office; and both the Mahwah Police Department and Hackensack Fire Department, which are integral parts of the Bergen County Arson Task Force.

The community awaits further updates as the investigation continues, hoping for clarity on the circumstances leading to this devastating event and the loss of Contreras.