EXCLUSIVE (ONLY ON CVP): An Alpine home where firefighters put down a basement blaze last night was once the scene of what a resident told police was a push-in robbery — and the scene of a fire 17 years ago that leveled the place.
The 10:35 p.m. fire damaged the basement and some of the first floor of the house on Hillside Avenue, catty-corner from Route 9W and up the block from Alpine Elementary School.
No injuries were reported.
“Firefighters were there right away and knocked it down quickly,” Alpine Acting Police Chief Christopher Belcolle told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this morning. “They were able to contain the damage.”
It was at that same house, on Black Friday 2010, that a resident told police a robber accosted her in her driveway as she returned home from shopping, forced her inside and tied her up.
She said the bandit wore a mask and gloves.
After taking some of her belongings, she said, he hopped into a waiting car driven by someone else. Then they took off.
Although some investigators in the area have had questions about the report, Belcolle emphasized that the case is still open and being investigated.
The residents went to stay with family members in Englewood Cliffs following last night’s fire, emergency workers said. It was unclear when they might be able to return.
Alpine firefighters were joined by their colleagues from Closter, which had two vehicles there; Demarest, which sent a ladder truck; and Harrington Park, which dispatched its Firefighter Assist and Search Team (FAST).
Closter also sent an EMS unit, while Demarest police helped their Alpine counterparts with traffic.