LODI, N.J. — The Red Cross urged citizens to wait for word on how to donate to four Lodi families displaced by an overnight fire that destroyed a pair of two-family houses.
A disaster relief team from the agency's Fairfield office got the 10 or so River Street residents shelter and staples such as food, clothing and medicine within hours of this morning's fire, spokeswoman Diane Concannon told Daily Voice.
"At this point, the families unfortunately are going through everything they lost," she said. "Afterward a lot of times we see the community come forward and help with additional needs."
Concannon emphasized, however, that the Red Cross and the victims aren't formally set up yet to accept donations.
She urged people to wait so that needs could be determined.
Justin Alvarez, a fiancé of one of the residents, said the families are waiting themselves to find out what to do next.
"She lost everything she owns," Alvarez said of his fiancé.
No injuries were reported in the three-alarm blaze, which brought firefighters from Garfield, Hackensack, Maywood, Rochelle Park and Saddle Brook.
"It was crazy, it was chaos," said John Pernice, who lives a few doors down from the ravaged houses. "One went [on fire] and all the sudden the other started going.
"It's a shame," he said.
Flames were shooting out the front and side of the brick residence and then jumped to the owner-occupied wood-frame house next door when emergency responders arrived around 3 a.m., Fire Chief Ron Cannici told Daily Voice.
The brick house was so decimated that the borough fire marshall couldn't get upstairs to investigate the cause, he said -- although authorities suspect an electrical short was responsible.
The brick building was razed this afternoon. An inspection was required to determine the fate of the other one.
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