First Arriving Network
Powered by the First Arriving Network,Reaching 1M+ First Responders Worldwide

Raw video: Three-alarm house fire in Hackensack, NJ. Evacuation & defensive ops ordered. Teaneck captain falls through roof.

Click here to follow on Facebook (hit “like”)

Above is Mike Villanova’s video of a fire yesterday at 265 Clinton Place in Hackensack, New Jersey. The evacuation order comes around the 5:15 mark on the video. Below is more video from Anthony Quintano.

Teaneck firefighter was injured in a three-alarm fire Saturday night when the back of a two-story home on Clinton Place collapsed. 

Fire officials said the fire broke out just after 6:10 p.m. and escalated quickly. Units from Hackensack, Teaneck, Bogota, Maywood, River Edge and Ridgefield Park responded. 

Teaneck Patch:

A Teaneck Fire Department captain was hospitalized after he fell through a roof while fighting a three-alarm blaze in Hackensack Saturday, fire officials said.

The fire captain fell about 12 feet onto his air tank and was being held overnight for observation at Hackensack University Medical Center, according to officials. He was in significant pain, but able to move his extremities.

Cliffview Pilot:

Teaneck Fire Capt. Paul Kearns was being kept overnight at Hackensack University Medical Center after falling through a roof while fighting a fast-moving blaze that destroyed a Hackensack house where a propane tank exploded during a barbecue early Saturday evening.

Kearns, the co-founder of the the Bergen County Firefighters Pipe Band (BCFPB), has been with the Teaneck department more than 17 years.

An active member of the New Jersey Firefighter’s Mutual Benevolent Association, Kearns is a senior research associate at The Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies.

Do you want to sell a rig? Click HERE to find out how with


Comments - Add Yours

  • livindadream

    Success! New Jersey has done it again! Turned a small fire into a GIANT clusterf^&%!
    1. Do these guys work for a window and door company as their primary place of employment?
    2. I hear a member of the command staff state that he has a hoseline and no one to man it. Who pulled it?
    3. I love the truck placement. 4 inches of concrete and some grass. Nice stable footing here.
    Just too many things to mention. If I was the home owner I’d be ticked!

    • RJ(in flrorida)

      gotta agree with you on the window thing and the truck placement. speaking as a KIC, seems like we had fire in a balloon const. lots of M/A should have been called and saved the windows. i love the truckies doing vent work without masks on. i heard #2 also and thought the same thing

      • Pedro

        balloon frame?

  • Anonymous

    Typical NJ operation… bread and butter fire made a “third alarm”. At least the foundation is still there.

  • LFD Captain

    Is this fire taking place at a volly convention…..

    • Crowbar

      Buff convention.

    • CHAOS

      Yeah, if command needs people to handle that hoseline, it looks like a couple of companies worth of spectators judging by the whacker shirts.

    • Foot in mouth

      No buff first due They are all Iaff paid guys

  • FDNY Batt Chief(Ret)

    Gotta love all the Arm Chair Chief Wannabees here. I am sure you “professionals” would have had it out in 5 minutes. Having trained & worked with some of these crews in years gone by, their skill level isn’t an issue. They were following orders, whether thoses orders were right or wrong, blaming everyone sure seems easy huh?

    • Brian McAllister

      I agree that they should not all be painted with the same brush but the video is either shot so some of the choices seem somewhat sketchy or the command may have been overly cautious with placing members inside to stop the advancement of fire. It really wasnt that big of a fire until they opened up and were not flowing water on the fire. It seems as though they vented and just let it build until it came to them. I may have done some things different, but like I said I wasnt there so its an observation NOT a bashing session.

    • deezy

      so then it is the person giving the orders that is the issue?

  • NJ FF

    I agree with ya FDNY Batt Chief(R)!!

  • Pierce Sutphen

    Wow, where do I start? Not wearing a mask while cutting the roof,pump operator on his cellphone….ah forget it. NJ or NY, all the same.

  • Capt 45-2

    Kind of surprised at you all, did you all miss the part that said “the fire captain fell about 12 feet onto his air tank and was being held overnight for observation at Hackensack University Medical Center, according to officials. He was in significant pain, but able to move his extremities.” I hope Capt. Kearns is recovering with no complications. Wow what a brotherhood, you are more worried about cell phones and criticizing their actions over the health of an injured brother..Just remember karma is a bitch

    • firemedic911

      I really feel for Capt. Kearns and his family. Sadly he is a product of his environment and should not have been on the roof of a building with fire coming out anyway. Makes me extremely angry that as an industry we still put firefighters in positions of too high of risk and almost definate chance of death or injury. There is no need for this. We simply need to make better decisions and take care of our brothers. I would rather let this home burn to the ground than to have one of my brothers get severely injured or worse.

  • firemedic911

    Of course we should not condemn all firefighters working on this fire. They are just following orders and are a product of there training and FD evironment. That being said, we need to stop putting guys on roofs that have already vented themselves and very rarely on roofs that haven’t. Firefighters and organizations that condone going around and arbitrarily breaking out windows should get flogged. IF you want to make a small fire into a big one just do that. Decision making is just such a large part of what we do. All fire ground decisions have a cascading affect on what occurs in the future of an incident. Put a firefighter unsafely on a roof and he falls through takes precious resources from fighting the actual fire. Which is why we get called in the first place. Place and apparatus poorly and you can be fighting that the whole incident. But if you control the air, use positive pressure and have a quick and aggressive either interior or exterior offensive attack you can immediately affect the direction of the incident. All I can see in this video is unsafe and unneeded roof operations and some firefighter breaking windows to feed the fire with oxygen. I really don’t witness any water being used until the fire is full on defensive. I just think we can do better.

  • The ragman

    You have fire throughout and you clowns are worried about breaking windows. We all know that smoke stained windows always get reused. Although I do agree that the line placement and ventilation seemed uncoordinated. But thats based on this one video. Where oh where did all the firemen go??????

    • Jersey FF

      It seems to me there was a transition period when men went to rehab or get refilled bottles and get back on the lines stretched .

  • Ret.HFDE5Lt

    Wow! All you guys must walk on water! What a bunch of hypocrites! Bet every dam fire you went to(if you all are firefighters or in the service as you say!) went perfect! You know how much this dept goes with on manpower on first alarm? 11 guys and a D/C! 2 engines,truck,rescue and chief! 2nd alarm brings 6 more guys, then they have to call in more guys via recall pages..this takes time! Oh, do you know cause of this fire? Propane bbq tank caught fire and exploded, which caused fire fast fire spread and some structural instability, but searches still got done as water was being put on the main fire in rear of house and mutual aid was called in, they have automatic m/a once recall is paged out…but again this takes time….oh, you armchair qb’s sit and watch to pick out no scotts for ladder co.(wow?), cellphone pump operator(really?),nope, you all are perfect, never ever screw up, god’s gift to firefighting!….well, let me tell you something hotshots, especially guy who has no clue what dept this’s Hackensack NJ Fire Dept..ring a bell? think Hackensack Ford fire, July 1,1988, lost five guys in car dealership fire…but since that day, has been one of the most progressive fire depts in NJ, learning from that day and setting the standard for alot of depts in NJ from SOP’s to Training to Equipment…but their not perfect, like you guys, so they will go back to work in couple days and critique this fire like every other fire they have had from 1988 on and LEARN from it…cause they day you know everything on the job, is NEVER! I personnally would be proud to work with these guys and have their back,knowing they would be there for me! And for 26 years till I retired Feb 1, 2012, I did work with them! They will always be family to me! Be careful who you criticize, it could be you on the other side of the camera some day…then see how you like you won’t!

  • Capt. Peter Danzo

    To all you armchair quarterbacks…get your facts straight! 1st of all the shift working was at minimum manpower, 4 engines with an officer & 2 FF’s each, 1 truck co also with an officer & 2 FF’s, a rescue with 1 officer & 1 FF and the DC (tour commander) covering the city, it was very humid and unseasonably hot, there were reports of possible entrapment and the entire rear of the house was fully involved from the 1st floor to the roof and well advanced into the “structure” due to a reported propane explosion and 2 20lb propane cylinders involved on arrival of the 1st engine. The 1st line in the front door kept having fire wrap around them and they almost got cut off, the rescue made the 2nd floor and was able to complete the primary search before needing to back out due to heavy fire conditions in the rear and in the walls…BALLOON CONSTRUCTION…read up on it!! Less then 15 minutes into the operation there was a collapse in the rear which briefly trapped the Teaneck Captain, making it necessary for several members to stop their assignments to remove him! I am not going to get into why or why not he should have been where he was, he is a well trained seasoned officer who was doing his job!! As for the windows…they are cheap and easily replaced and also the quickest way to vent a building, if you fought more than a fire a year you might know this!! As for the truck placement, overhead wires people, unless you work with them keep your mouths shut because you are clueless. As for the roof, again balloon construction…when it’s it the walls you vent the roof and I am so tired of hearing about PPV!!! It does not work with 99% of the buildings in our response area and again…you are all missing the fact that the entire rear of the home was fully involved. Someone also mentioned the door? I am assuming the removal of the storm door…I guess you have never had a door close on your hoseline…I have, even after it was chocked…if it is gonna impede you, remove it!! I didn’t see the guy on the cell phone and maybe it occurred but without knowing why…why even comment? These guys rolled in undermanned and faced a heavy fire condition with possible entrapment and a fire that was rapidly eating away at the structure and busted their asses, they attempted interior attacks at least 2 or 3 times, getting forced out each time by fire conditions and the structure being unstable!! Aside from the captain injured in the collapse, only 2 other FF’s suffered from exhaustion and transported to the hospital, several others were treated on the scene and went back to work…it is very easy to criticize especially without all the facts but even more so with little experience as most of you prove by your comments…anytime you would like to visit and see how we operate and maybe even learn something…contact me. Captain Peter Danzo, 24 year veteran, Hackensack Fire Dept

    • PEDRO

      Capt. Thanks for bringing some insight into the conversation. We KIC appreciate it. I questioned the Balloon Frame construction comment made by RJ(in florida). Let me explain my reason. The exterior of the house exhibits characteristics that do not appear to coincide with those typical of balloon frame construction. The windows on the 1st and 2nd floors on sides A, B, and D are staggered, which is not typical for balloon frame construction. Exterior wall studs that run un-interrupted from the foundation to the roof eaves require the 1st and 2nd floor windows to be vertically in-line, which is usually a dead giveaway of balloon frame construction. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case here, as the window placement is staggered in such a way that it would seem impossible for any number of studs to run uninterrupted from the foundation to the roof eaves. I was not there, and was not in the house, and did not open up the stud bays. If I were there, with my limited knowledge, I would not have sized up this building as balloon frame. This is a problem for me, and a potentially huge tactical error I would make in the future. Could you clarify what you found on the inside of this building? Recognizing this type of building appearance as a balloon frame could maybe save my life someday. I work in NJ in a severely understaffed career department. Our fully staffed platoon numbers about half of the HFD minimum staffing of this HFD fire. Appreciate it.

  • Pamela

    I just can’t believe that these firefighters broke out front windows that clearly did not need to be busted. The fire was in the back of the house, and that should have been where the firefighters were focused.

    • Capt. Peter Danzo

      Your right Pamela, they should have saved the windows for the demolition crew! Screw the guys that were in those rooms with heavy smoke and heat and who may need to use one of those windows to escape!! Come on…REALLY!!??

    • Clinton Pl. Alumni

      The fire was not only in the back of the house. These houses on that block are approximately 100 years old. It was basically putting a torch to dry kindling. The fire spread through the house instantly. It started in the back bottom of the house but as you can see, was coming out of the front roof of the house.. So, apparently, you you are commenting with a lack of info. Perhaps, you can consider your lack of insight before you bash these brave firefighters who’s lives are based on servicing our community. And as far as the windows, 1) the fire was already in the front area inside of the house and 2) the damaged windows really are inconsequential. The occupants got out safely plus the house is beyond repair and will have to be torn down to the foundation.

  • Capt. Peter Danzo

    Just wanted to clarify one additional thing then I will get off my soap box and go back to doing what I do…fighting fires!!
    The guy on the cell phone…that is his “speaker mike” of his portable radio up to his ear listening to fireground operations!!

  • Capt 45-2

    Thank you Capt. Peter Danzo,, I am glad to hear from someone that was there for a change. You have to know Capt if you are not doing it 100 % by the book you are going to get torn up on this site, take it with a grain of salt brother. Some of these guys live in the land of five man companies, imagine that right??

    I am 100 present for learning from our mistakes, that being said if you step back and watch the video and pretend that it is another company and take into account the angle of the camera there is some questionable stuff going on, well that is if you can see over the text book and look at the screen, stay safe brother.

  • mark

    Question for the PPVPPA folks, have you ever fought a fire in a balloon frame construction before?

    Just as we don’t use dozersair tankers on dumpster fires, PPVPPA is not the only tool that works every single time.

  • Reginald23

    Undermanned? Are you sure?

  • Pierce Sutphen

    Ret.HFDE5Lt says “it’s Hackensack NJ Fire Dept..ring a bell? think Hackensack Ford fire, July 1,1988, lost five guys in car dealership fire…”
    Actually hot shot, I do remember that day. Don’t wear it as a badge of honor. Nothing to be proud of. Maybe some of your guys haven’t learned enough yet.

  • Anonymous

    Amen Capt. Danzo

  • investigator R. Wolfson CFEI

    not a clue!!!!!!!!!! obviously these arm chair buffs know nothing. hackensack fd is one of the most progressive departments in the country. think of a professional fire dept and hackensack is on top. from the chiefs to the firefighters no one is more professional. read brannigans books to learn about building construction(do you know who brannigan is?:))proud to be a brother fireman. i am a professional fire investigator. invite me to your dept so i can see how a quick knock down happens, totally preserved scene and comprehensive investigation is conducted. i promise you arm chair buffs you do not have a clue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Former Chief

    Thank you Capt. Danzo and E5Lt. Many of the commentators on here have never been to a real fire. I remember Hackensack Ford very well. I was a vollie Chief in NJ when that occurred. I still remember a PD Sgt. dropping a copy of a teletype off to my house that day regarding the fire. It still gives me chills. I just explained that incident to a FF1 class I was teaching the other day doing the building construction lecture. We are learning from that fatefull day.
    On a side note, I think about DC Tom C often. I had the pleasure of knowing Tommy and working with him on some IAFF issues. The fire service lost a great man when he passed. Stay safe Brothers.

    • Ret.HFDE5Lt

      thanks Chief, we miss him alot too, i was promoted to safety/training LT when he made D/C and i was on same Platoon for couple yrs till he passed away, taught me alot, had some great times and laughs, and as u said, he was always trying to help thru PFANJ and IAFF, yes, the fire service as a whole misses this man…and alot of these guys will never know what he did for them..I, as a retiree, do and always will be thankful…

  • Capt. Peter Danzo

    Hey Pierce Sutphen…I am going to curb what I really want to call you and say because this is a public forum but you coward piece of crap, why don’t you give your name and dept if you are in deed a FF, how dare you disrespect the members we lost and the members who were there including Ret.HFDE5Lt and myself!! Neither he nor I or any other member of the dept wear it as a badge of honor and you have unbelievable nerve to even say that, what he was saying was that we have come a long way since then, learned and trained…I am not going to get into the Ford fire except that those guys were doing their job with the training and knowledge that was available at the time…just as the 6 brothers killed in Brooklyn in ’78 and the guys who have been killed since! When you grow up and become a “REAL” firefighter is when you should comment about other peoples fires and get to call yourself a “BROTHER”!! till then AMF!!

  • Don Huneke

    I have to say to all the HERO Monday Morning QB’s especially those who don’t give there real names and the 1 from Fla where there is NEVER any truck work ! STFU and stop Monday morining QBing…You clowns are the true reason the Fire Service is dying. You bash your brothers and knock every act. Unreal I am so glad I am close to retirerment because if this is the future then the END is near !

  • Pierce Sutphen

    HEY Capt. Peter Danzo,
    I mean no disrespect towards the lost men from Hackensack whatsoever. But,for one of your own guys to bring it up, that shows disrespect.Bringing it up serves absolutely no good purpose.Call me what you want, but you guys are living in fantasyland. I just hope you guys improve your training standards.

  • Ret.HFDE5Lt

    thanks to the guys who understand what i was getting at with my comments…PierceSutphen, if you think for a minute that i was “wearing that fire as a badge of honor”, then your a bigger idiot than I originally thought! Probably no sense going further trying to explain my statement, because people like you NEVER get it, their more worried about breaking windows, taking off screen doors and being critical of fire video’s like its a football game butit’s not a game, ok, it’s a dangerous job and it’s never gonna be perfect, but we do try to minimize damage, while trying to get searches done in zero conditions and get water on the fire as quickly as possible..sometimes, it’s not possible…but taking the windows give us one of OUR best means of egress in an emergency, especially during a search…i know it well, i was a ladder chauffer for almost 10 yrs, as was Capt Pete so we do speak from experience….really think you need to have reality check some of you…some of us did years ago and are trying to help some have to go thru what we did…

  • Capt. Peter Danzo

    @Pedro, sorry for delay in replying, you are correct in the rule of thumb in regards to lined up windows in balloon construction, however you need to take into account the age of the home, this house was 100 years old, as well as renovations and additions which as you know will alter the original appearance, we find many homes with both original balloon frame along with platform construction and due to the age of many of the homes in our city I assume they are balloon construction until we prove otherwise and this does not mean we immediately vent the roof but we get into the attic ASAP as well as the basement to check for drop down fire which is also common in balloon frame if the fire gets in the walls. Coincidentally the crew that worked on Saturday caught a 2nd alm yesterday in a 2-1/2 story frame with balloon construction, fire was showing out 2 windows on the 2nd floor on arrival with some extension into the attic. The fire was K/D in 5 minutes by the 1st line and under control in 45, the delay in calling it U/C was because fire was found in the floor/ceiling between the 1st & 2nd floors and in the walls on the D side, but with quick truck work and opening up, it was quickly extinguished. I hope I was able to help you, I also want to thank those of you for the positive statements and understanding, that is what the brotherhood is about, we learn from our mistakes, teach each other from our experiences and ALWAYS remember no 2 fires are the same and always expect the unexpected because you never know what you will come across! Stay safe brothers, Captain Peter Danzo, Hackensack NJ Fire Dept.