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Fire Displaces Heights Families on New Year's Eve

Four adults and 2 dogs made it out safely but two cats perished, fire officials say. Cause is still under investigation.

A two-alarm fire that destroyed the upper stories of a two-family house  on Harrison Avenue in the middle of the night Monday has left two families displaced on New Year's Eve.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, reports First Assistant Fire Chief Pat Hayes of the Hasbrouck Heights Volunteer Fire Department.

Four adults and two dogs made it out of the house okay with no injuries but two cats perished in the fire, the chief said.

Hayes said the call came in about 2:53 a.m. The fire at the front of the house was fully involved when firefighters arrived at the scene. They had the fire knocked down in about 15 minutes, says Hayes.

Neighbors said it was an absolutely frightening thing to wake up to. "Thank God no one was hurt," said Scott Ketschke, who lives directly next door.

His daughter woke him in the middle of the night when she saw the house next door on fire. Ketschke says he and his family and their pets immediately evacuated their home and stayed with a neighbor until it was okay to go back into their home which was not damaged at all by the fire.

Neighbors say the tenants of the house went to stay at a hotel or with family. A construction crew was on the scene by mid-morning working to remove the falling debris from the destroyed upper level of the house.

Firefighters from Wood-Ridge, Wallington, Lodi, Little Ferry and Moonachie Fire and First Aid were also on the scene, according to Hayes. 

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