Image: Fire in Plainfield, N.J.
Colin Archer  /  AP
A firefighter walks in front of a burning mattress supply building in Plainfield, N.J., where an early morning fire shattered windows and threatened the interior of a nearby firehouse.
updated 12/12/2006 3:27:22 PM ET 2006-12-12T20:27:22

Firefighters were so busy battling a warehouse blaze Tuesday that they needed outside help — to protect their own fire station.

The blaze near downtown Plainfield destroyed a mattress warehouse that stood just 15 feet away across an alley from the city’s fire department headquarters.

The heat shattered firehouse windows and damaged the firefighters’ living quarters and a storage area, said Fire Chief Cecil Allen. It took nearly 100 firefighters from throughout Union County to bring the warehouse blaze under control.

During that effort, Allen said, firefighters from a neighboring town grabbed a hose and ran into the firehouse to soak the interior.

“Our guys were outside attacking the fire. We had to ask for mutual aid to bring the hose in to protect our own house,” Allen said. “It was weird, very weird.”

A passer-by had alerted authorities to the blaze by banging on the firehouse door, said Fire Capt. Jeff Courtney.

The firehouse is still inhabitable, and no injuries were reported.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire.

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