Springfield firefighters joined their counterparts from Millburn and surrounding towns Sunday afternoon in battling a stubborn four-alarm fire at 517 Millburn Avenue, in a large commercial building that houses several stores.
Traffic on Millburn Avenue in the area, not far from Morris Turnpike, was shut down. Despite the bitter cold, a crowd of spectators gathered across the street near Enzo's Restaurant.
The fire was concentrated in what had been the location of Unica, a clothing store, which had closed. That part of the building, which had been under renovation, suffered the most damage, with the front of the store burned out.
Other stores in the building include the Chai Center Judaica, Stone and Tile Design, the Glenwood Cafe, One World, and an opticians office. It was not clear Sunday afternoon how badly those were damaged.
The fire appeared to have started in the basement. According to an eyewitness, smoke was visible coming out of a door from the basement before firefighters arrived.
According to fire communications, the fire spread through the basement and the "cockloft," the area above the main floor. Firefighters had been on the scene for more than 90 minutes when, shortly before 1 p.m., flames shot through the roof of the building and an alarm sounded pulling firefighters from the structure. Firefighters ran more hoses to the building and continued to pour water on the fire.
Firefighters issued a second alarm as soon as they arrived around 11:30 a.m. and third and fourth alarms were issued a few minutes later. Units from Springfield and nearby towns arrived to offer their assistance, including Irvngton, Newark, Summit, Maplewood, West Orange, South Orange and Livingston.
The Millburn police department's fire investigations unit was at the scene.
The Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad and Summit EMS were standing by, but there were no reports of injuries. The Millburn-Short Hills chapter of the American Red Cross was also at the location.