CARLSTADT, NJ — After a Fourth of July celebration, a four-alarm fire ripped through The Balcony restaurant and lounge at 491 Broad St. early Sunday morning.
"The building was locked up at 2:50 a.m., and the fire started inside the attic located above the VIP section," Sgt. John Cleary of the Carlstadt Police Department said of the fire, which was reported at 3:25 a.m. "A neighbor who was walking their dog in the area called it in."
The rear area of the roof had collapsed over the dance floor, Cleary said.
The charred smell wafted across the street as a DPW sweeper cleaned up debris and glass from the intersection while PSE&G worked on a utility line.
Flames can be seen poking through the roof at The Balcony in Carlstadt on Sunday. There were no injuries, the deputy fire chief said. (Photo: Bill Tompkins/Special to NorthJersey.com)
Twenty towns responded, including Moonachie, Waliington, East Rutherford and Wood-Ridge. "The fire was coming through the roof, and we called a fourth alarm in," Deputy Fire Chief Henry Riveros said. "We stretched three hose lines in with teams of two, up to the second floor. We were able to knock the fire down in about a half-hour."
Owner Paul Qassis talks with Carlstadt police following a fire at his business. (Photo: Kelly Nicholaides)
There were no injuries, Riveros said, adding that the fire is under investigation.
The Balcony held an Indepen"dance" party on Saturday, featuring DJ Anthony Paglucci.
Damage to the roof of The Balcony in Carlstadt caused a partial collapse. (Photo: Kelly Nicholaides/northjersey.com)
The establishment has drawn complaints from residents since 2010 over parking issues and noise. Owner Paul Qassis got approval from the zoning board in 2016 to demolish the building and construct eight condominiums, with 16 parking spaces underneath.