Fire hits apartment complex

July 25, 2008 8:38:39 PM PDT
Gloucester County fire officials are looking for the cause of a three-alarm fire that destoyed part of an apartment complex in Glassboro. The fire broke out around 5 p.m. at The Campus Crossings apartments located at 515 Mullica Hill Road. It took an army of fire fighters to finally bring this inferno under control. The apartments are home to a lot of students at Rowan University. And officials are looking into reports that a barbeque on a first floor terrace may have set off the blaze.

Firefighters were in for a battle, and there were times it seemed they were going to lose.

"Just spread little by little, we seen it getting worse and worse, more smoke, then it just got crazy," said Joe Uva of Glassboro.

On the second floor of the D-building here at Campus Crossings, a student was trapped and didn't know what to do.

"I kind a had to make a decision quick. I was thinking of jumping off the balcony but I didn't really know," said Eric Braitsch.

"We told him jump, but he seemed like he didn't know what to do, and finally he just dropped down," said Uva.

Firefighters sounded the alarm for back up once, and then again, ultimately, a 3-alarm fire involving 150 to 200 firefighters from a half dozen South Jersey fire companies.

"You're in a hazardous atmosphere and it just wears you out really quickly, just moving around outside with the gear and pulling hoses, it's really taxing," said Deputy Chief Kristian Van Dexter of the Glassboro Fire Department.

It took an hour and a half for the army of firefighters to finally bring the inferno under control. Three firefighters were treated at the scene for exhaustion and heat related injuries. And Eric Braitsch scraped his arm when he jumped from his second floor apartment, but other than that, there were no serious injuries. As for the cause, it's under investigation by the fire marshal and the Glassboro police department.

Four apartments were destroyed, four others heavily damaged. The apartments are not owned or operated by Rowan University. Fire officials say it's unclear how many people have been displaced, but the Red Cross is said to be providing temporary shelter.

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