North Fullerton Fire
PHOTO COURTESY MONTCLAIR FIRE DEPARTMENT An electrical fire traveled upward through four exterior balconies at the back of 45 North Fullerton Ave. on Sunday, Nov. 24, causing extensive fire and smoke damage.

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

Four households have been displaced after an electrical fire caused an early morning blaze on Nov. 24 at a North Fullerton Avenue apartment building.

The two-alarm fire was caused by an electrical malfunction, Montclair Deputy Fire Chief Robert Duncan said Monday.

The Montclair Fire Department was summoned to the area of Claremont Avenue and North Fullerton Avenue at 12:36 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, due to smoke conditions at the apartment building at 45 North Fullerton Ave.

When crews arrived, they found fire burning up four exterior balconies at the back of the building.

Some residents were rescued from fire escapes on the building using ground ladders, Duncan said.

Fire crews from Bloomfield, Orange, East Orange, Clifton, West Orange, Cedar Grove and Verona helped to bring the fire under control and provide fire service to the rest of Montclair.

A number of the apartments sustained heavy fire and smoke damage, while other apartments sustained smoke and water damage.

There were no injuries to firefighters or residents. The electrical malfunction began in the ceiling of one of the rear apartments, Duncan said.

The last firefighting units had left the scene by 4:02 a.m. Residents in the unaffected areas of the building were allowed to return to their apartments, while some of the residents whose apartments were damaged had to be displaced. The Red Cross and PSE&G also responded to the scene.

Duncan said the fire department did not have an exact number of the building’s occupants who were displaced from the building due to the fire. One possibility, he said, was that some of the people who could return to their apartments decided to vacate the premises in order to have smoke damage repaired.

But David Faloni Sr., the apartment building’s owner, said Sunday morning that eight apartment units were affected, with four on the second and third floors needing to be vacated for a few months so the damage in those apartments can be repaired and cleaned.

On Tuesday, a red unsafe building placard had appeared in the building, a resident told Montclair Local. The placard specifically mentioned four apartment units and the basement level.

The building is divided into three sections, containing a total of 24 units, Faloni said. Fire doors inside the building, which are required in apartment buildings by state law, kept the fire and smoke from spreading to the other two sections of the building, Faloni said.

The 14,500 square foot building at 45 North Fullerton Ave. was built in 1923, according to property tax records.