Dozens forced into the cold after fire at Blackwood, NJ, apartment building

Tim Jimenez
January 21, 2020 - 7:39 am
A three-alarm fire at the Buttonwood Village Apartments in Blackwood, N.J.,forced neighbors to knock on doors and windows to get everyone out to safety.

Tim Jimenez/KYW Newsradio


UPDATED: 9:30 a.m.

BLACKWOOD, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Nearly 30 people were forced out of their homes and into the freezing cold late Monday night when a fire broke out in their Blackwood, New Jersey, apartment building. The cause is under investigation, and residents jumped into action to get their neighbors out.

Flames were spreading and smoke was filling the hallways at the Buttonwood Village Apartments on the Black Horse Pike around midnight.

"This is the worst fire I've seen since I've been here," said Tony Sipp, who says he has lived there for 20 years.

Sipp lives on the third floor, close to where the fire started. He says, even with the chaos, all the neighbors were looking out for each other.

"The fire alarm went off, and they started banging on doors, telling everybody to get out," he said. "I gathered what I could. By the time I got outside around back, there were flames through the ceiling and everything. They were pretty bad."

Fire officials said everyone managed to get out safely, and no one was hurt. 

Crews managed to battle the fire even as the water froze up around them.

"That makes it very treacherous for the guys walking around, especially on the streets and at the grass level going into the apartment. It was like a little ice skating rink," Cipriano said.

The Red Cross says it’s helping 29 people who couldn’t return. 

Officials say 40 apartment units have fire, smoke or water damage. 

Sipp, like so many others, is wondering what’s next. 

"Gonna take a lot of work to get this place back together again," he said. "I pretty much lost everything."

But he says he's thankful to be alive.