National News

Catholic Charities Rehab Center in New Jersey Knocked Down After Blaze

The historic building was engulfed by the fire, displacing residents who were recovering from addiction. (Photo: Courtesy of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Paterson)

PATERSON, N.J. — A building that houses a rehabilitation center run by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Paterson (N.J.) was struck by a five-alarm fire on Aug. 24, and will be demolished, according to

The building was home to Straight & Narrow, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that served as a place of transition for men recovering from addictions. The blaze left hundreds displaced, but there were no reported injuries, authorities said, according to the site. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

Paterson fire officials said a section of the building collapsed within an hour. Also, an explosion was heard, possibly a barrel containing “some substance.”

“The explosion was really intense,” Patterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott told “The barrel went up 300 feet easily, blew the roof off.”

Residents and neighbors evacuated the area.

Msgr. James Maloney, vicar general of the Diocese of Paterson, said Straight & Narrow serves thousands each year. It was founded in 1954 and was located in a historic building on Straight Street in Paterson. It has served many patients addicted to opioids.

Scott Milliken, CEO of the diocese’s Catholic Charities, said that 50 men reentering society following drug and alcohol recovery programs lost everything, except “the clothes on their backs,” and have been permanently displaced, according to

Two hundred people in nearby buildings were displaced as well, because of power interruptions.

According to Milliken, the Federal Emergency Management Agency was on hand to help. In addition, officials credited St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson for assisting 17 detox patients. American Red Cross New Jersey Region said it was tending to more than 230 people who were displaced.

Straight & Narrow’s Rebuilding and Recovery Efforts

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