By MADDY VITALE
An early morning fire Thursday tore through a self-storage facility, Sure Storage, at 5 Chestnut Street, causing an explosion and the loss of about 70 storage units, Somers Point Fire Chief Jim Somers said.
“It looked like it started in one unit and spread quickly. It didn’t take much. It was really hot,” Somers said in an interview with SomersPoint.com, describing one of the buildings taken down to charred metal.
There were no reported injuries in the 4:22 a.m. fire.
“We did have an explosion on the second floor,” Somers said. “Thank God no one was in the building at the time.”
By 10:50 a.m., with the help of about 10 to 12 fire companies and about 75 firefighters, the massive blaze was under control, Somers explained.
“There were still a lot of hot spots and a massive cleanup,” he added.
Somers attributed the safe extinguishment of the fire to the professional and quick actions of the firefighters.
“Everybody worked hard. Our guys are well-trained. Nobody was standing around. Not only did we have heavy fires of the units, but we had to cut the doors open,” Somers said. “It was a lot of work to get to the fires.”
The fire was fought from the exterior. It was too dangerous to enter the building, Somers said.
“The building was too compromised, so it was more of a defensive operation — surround it and drown it,” he said. “We had to call in a backhoe to rip off the outer sheeting of the second floor to get in there.”
The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety was on scene Thursday afternoon to investigate the cause of the fire.
“They are taking care of the investigation. They got it down to where the fire started,” Somers explained.
Although the cause has yet to be determined, Somers pointed out, “People put stuff in there they aren’t supposed to.”
Somers Point Mayor Jack Glasser said in an interview that he arrived at the scene early and saw firsthand how hard the firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
“I was there this morning, I’m very grateful to our fire department and the departments from the surrounding towns that responded and helped fight this fire,” Glasser said. “Our emergency management, police and Egg Harbor Township Rescue Squad all did an outstanding job working together to contain this fire. As the mayor, I am very proud and thankful to all.”
In addition to Somers Point Fire Companies No. 1 and No. 2, there were multiple fire departments that assisted, including from Linwood, Northfield and Egg Harbor Township.