Elderly NJ woman killed in suspicious fire

November 22, 2009 8:30:39 PM PST
This was no accident. Officials in New Jersey say someone set the fire in Paterson that killed 88 year old Ida Fernicola. As the fierce flames enveloped the small home, rescue crews clogged the narrow street, knowing three people were inside and may not be able to get out.

Mike Odhiambo gave exclusive video to Eyewitness News that he shot from his front porch.

"I was clearly 200 to 250 feet away and the heat was so much that I could take off my T-shirt and just bask in the heat," Odhiambo said.

The fire started outside, near the back of the home, investigators said.

Crews found Ida on the first floor. They say it was the smoke that killed her.

"Sweet person. She's bed ridden. She had cancer or something," neighbor Kay Visser said.

Her 44-year-old son and 89-year-old husband Angelo made it out.

Neighbors say he spent most of his time taking care of his wife.

"He's always out here saying hi, letting people park in his driveway and everything. Really, really nice person," Neighbor Keyonta Glover said.

Eyewitness News is told that this fire was not the first suspicious one of the night on Paterson Avenue. Police say someone set several others, one of which was just a few doors down.

All were small fires, expect this one, that destroyed so much more than just a house.