CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) – The investigation and clean-up continues in Camden, where the second major fire in a week took place on Saturday (see previous story).

The heavy smell of smoke still lingers in the air near the Howland Croft Building at Broadway and Winslow Street, as police, fire, and utility officials continue their investigation at the scene.

Just feet away from the building, a former garment factory, neighbors are having smoke and fire clean-up experts come to their homes to try to rid them of the odor.

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howland croft fire bldg dl durham Cleanup, Probe Continue At Scene Of Camdens Second Major Fire in 4 Days

Tomasina used to work in the Howland Croft Building, sewing.  She says she is saddened by the fire.

“Because this used to be a beautiful neighborhood growing up,” she recalls.  This neighborhood didn’t always used to look like that.  People used to take care of their houses, everybody used to clean the streets up and stuff like that.  So, sometime, this part of town has been forgotten.”

She is suspicious of just how quickly the building went up.

And while she is comforted by the heavy police presence right now, she feels the demolition should happen sooner rather than later.

“Go ahead — instead of having extra cops patrolling the building, let’s hurry up and tear it down. Then you won’t have to have our cops patrolling the building, you’ll have them back on the street where  they belong.”

Three days before the Howland Croft fire, another massive fire destroyed a tire warehouse and displaced nearby residents (see related story).

On Monday afternoon, Camden mayor Dana Redd held a press conference about the two fires.  She said the layoff of firefighters earlier this year (related story) played no factor in the severity of these fires or how they were fought.
“While the causes for the recent two fires is still under investigation,” she added, “please know as mayor of this city I have reached out to the attorney general’s office to express my concerns. At this juncture, and while it is standard protocol, we are calling for a full assessment as to the cause and origin of both warehouse fires.”

Reported by Michelle Durham, KYW Newsradio 1060

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