200 Students Displaced; 6 Firemen Injured After Fire at Hoboken Charter School

Roughly 200 kids were evacuated; six firefighters treated for smoke inhalation.

A fire broke out at Hoboken Charter School this morning, injuring five firefighters and prompting the evacuation of 200 students and faculty in the school and at a next-door daycare center, authorities said.

An emergency worker on the scene said the fire started on the top floor of the building shortly before 10:30 a.m. at the school, located at Seventh and Washington streets.

Several people at the scene said that the top floor of the building isn't in use. 

Firefighters worked until a little after noon to battle the blaze, as it spread from the roof to the other floors, the worker said.

Thick black smoke was seen coming out of the building earlier, according to Thomas Molta, the president of the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps. He said there were about 30 members of the HVAC present on Thursday. 

Five firemen from Hoboken and one from North Hudson were treated for smoke inhalation, Molta said.

After the fire broke out, the building was promptly evacuated and students and faculty have been relocated to the Multi Service Center at 124 Grand Street, according to city officials.

One parent on the scene said some children thought it was a drill. Roughly 200 students were evacuated and no one—including teachers and staffers—was hurt, Molta confirmed.  

"Children can stay (at the Multi Service Center) throughout the day, however parents who are able to are asked to pick up their children as soon as possible," according to a city-issued press release. All Saints also relocated their students to St. Nicholas at 527 Clinton Street, according to city officials. 

The inside of All Saints, however, didn't sustain any damage, according to Jill Singleton, the head of that daycare. 

Hoboken Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Toback, who was at the scene earlier, said all the students were safely relocated and none were injured.

"We'll do anything we can to help," Toback said, referring to the relocation efforts.

According to several people on the scene, the Board of Education is looking into housing some students in the trailers outside the Wallace School. Some other students may be relocated to the Brandt School. 

The Hoboken Charter School had only been using the building—which sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage—since last year, when it acquired the building. 

Helen Cunning, a former board member who helped purchase the building, was close to tears as she looked at the scene on Thursday. "I'm heartbroken," she said.  

Around 11:30 a.m., a cloud of black smoke was still billowing from the building and police, emergency and fire vehicles lined the street.

Geoss Curtiss, the reverend at All Saints Episcopal Church, located next door, said the church and a daycare that operates out of the basement, was also evacuated and everyone made it out safely.

Curtiss said he was warned by emergency workers to move away from the scene and be careful of smoke inhalation.

"They're a little worried about the toxicity of the smoke," Curtiss said.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer, in a release, said the city will be "working directly with Hoboken Charter to help them through this situation.”

"We're so lucky that everyone got out," Zimmer said at the scene on Thursday.  

bessie medina September 06, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I went to this school and graduated from it when it was academy of the sacred heart....
Liz September 06, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Both schools evacuated a large number of children (All Saints School which is not a daycare and has students from Nursery to 8th grade- evacuated well over 120 students from the 707 Washington address without delay, in a safe and orderly fashion. We can be very proud of the dedicated faculty and staff at both of these schools. A potentially dangerous situation was handled with true professionalism.
FranzZimmer September 06, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Well done HPD, HFD and HEMT.
Joanne Day September 10, 2012 at 02:13 AM
So did I. Graduated in 1966. I'm an old lady now!


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