I was passing through Westfield last night when I saw a very interesting cloud that turned out to not be a cloud at all.
The fire was large enough that the Westfield fire department needed to call in reinforcements from New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Scotch Plains/ Fanwood, Mountainside, Elizabeth, Cranford, Roselle Park, and Garwood to help fight the flames.
It started around 3:25PM. I think it may have been about four or five alarms when I took this photo, but it was a six-alarm fire by the time it ended. Reportedly, it was brought “under control” by 6:45PM, but crews continued to monitor for hot spots throughout the night.
According to Patch.com, “the cause of the fire is unknown but initial reports indicated that the fire may have begun in the loft area of the building” (para. 2).
Several businesses were destroyed, including Clyne & Murphy (restaurant and catering), Rocky the Tailor, the Sound Station, Figaro’s Hair Styling, and about two to four others. I don’t know if anyone was caught in the fire; I saw stretchers being wheeled to the site, but I didn’t see anyone on them.
EDIT, 1/23/12, 8:00PM: One firefighter may have injured according to Patch.com, and may not have been injured according to the Star-Ledger.
Antonelli, T. and L. Mitchell. (2012). “Update: Clyne & Murphy Fire Hits Six-Alarm Status.” Westfield Patch. http://westfield.patch.com/articles/three-alarm-fire-breaks-out-at-clyne-murphy-in-westfield.
Paik, E. (2012). “Firefighters battling six-alarm fire in Westfield.” The Star-Ledger. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/firefighters_battling_four-ala.html.
Star-Ledger Staff. (2012). “Five-alarm fire in Westfield destroys several businesses.” The Star-Ledger. http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/five-alarm_westfield_fire_dest.html.