Fire in Edgewater, NJ apartment complex leaves Yankee radio play by play announcer John Sterling without a home-NY Daily News
"The 400-unit Avalon at Edgewater complex was destroyed after a multialarm fire broke out around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. New York Yankee’s broadcaster John Sterling is one of those who called the complex home. He told the Daily News he fears he’s lost everything."
"A massive multialarm fire that lit up the western skyline along the Hudson River has destoryed a luxury apartment complex in New Jersey and left hundreds homeless — including the beloved voice of the New York Yankees.
John Sterling, the longtime play-by-play announcer for the MLB team, is among those who have called the Avalon at Edgewater complex home.
“Maybe I’ll get lucky and there won’t be that much damage,” the sports broadcaster told the Daily News while taking refuge in a hotel.
Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland, who took office Jan. 2, declared a local state of emergency as firefighters battling the blaze reported it remaining out of control four hours after it first broke at 4:20 p.m. Five FDNY fire boats attacked the inferno from the river, but by 9 p.m. parts of the complex began to collapse, The Bergen Record reported.
No serious injuries to civilians or firefighters have been reported. About 400 residents were evacuated, the complex owner said. Officials said all people and pets have been accounted for.
But many residents, during a particularly frigid night, were left in the cold not knowing what possession they may have left. Sterling is one of them. “I don’t know what to expect. Now, I have nowhere to go. And I need a toothbrush," he said. Sterling said he was returning to the 408-unit building, attempting to board an elevator, when he noticed the smell of “intense smoke.”
“On one side of the building the elevators had already been shut down. I went to my elevators (at the back of the building) and tried walking in, but the smoke was so intense I said to myself, ‘John, you better get the hell out of here.’ So I just drove away,” he recalled.
“I was wondering what I was going to do for clothes. But then I started thinking about all the stuff, all the memories, whether it be music, books, and a lot of other stuff,” he said. “You know I was planning on moving to a new apartment complex and felt I was going to throw a lot of that stuff out. Now I hope I haven’t lost it,” he continued.
“One positive is, if there can be any, is all the people that have called me up asking how I’m doing. Like Willie Randolph, a secretary from the Yankees. Suzyn— another friend from Los Angeles. It must be a big fire because she heard about it on Ch. 7 L.A.,” he said.
As for what Sterling said he plans to do next: "I have a TV taping Saturday with Mary Carillo for the Hallmark Kitten Super Bowl. All I have to wear now is what’s on my back: Jeans, a polo shirt and a sweater."
Authorities say it appears that everyone in the four-story, luxury complex was able to get out safely, although the cause of the fire was not immediately known. Displaced residents have been moved to the nearby Eleanor Van Gelder School and the Boys and Girls Club.
Edgewater schools will be closed Thursday.
Numerous firefighters from Edgewater and surrounding towns swarmed the scene to help battle the blaze — easily seen raging from across the Hudson River in Manhattan — but their efforts were being hampered by windy conditions and temperatures in the low 30s.
Streets around the burning building were cordoned off, but no major traffic problems have been reported.
Authorities are looking into reports that plumbers were working close to where the fire broke out, in a wall of an apartment on the first floor at the south side of the complex, Edgewater Police Chief William Skidmore told The Record.
Shockingly, this wasn't the first time the apartment complex has burned down.
During its 2000 construction the $75.6 million building, then called the Avalon River Mews, caught fire after reports of an explosion.
One witness described the fire as needing only 12 minutes to ignite all three of the wood-frame buildings that comprised the new housing development, thanks to fanning winds.
"I went out front and the flames were like 500 feet high," Mike Caprio told the News that August."
Image NY Daily News, Sam Costanza
12/22/14, "John Sterling, Suzyn Waldman officially back in Yankees' WFAN booth for 2015," Newsday, Neil Best
"John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman will return as the Yankees' radio team for 2015, WFAN operations manager Mark Chernoff confirmed Monday.
Newsday reported in September that the duo likely would be back, but since then, that has become official, meaning Sterling and Waldman are set to spend an 11th season together.
Sterling, 76, always has been consistent about his thoughts on retirement, telling Newsday in September: "I'm never going to retire. I don't understand why people would."
The Yankees do not have hiring or firing power over the announcers for their games, but they do have input.
Team president Randy Levine said in September: "I think John and Suzyn, they are iconic . . . I love them. They're friends, they're great people and they're part of the Yankee brand.""
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