Girl, 3, dies; 5-year-old boy critical in NJ fire

February 18, 2011 1:45:05 PM PST
One child is dead and another critically injured after a fire that tore through a Newark home Thursday morning.

The fire on North 6th Street was vicious. Just after midnight, flames tore through the second and third floors in minutes, piercing the walls as if they weren't even there.

Three families were inside alseep.

Carlos Bentemmella ran to help his neighbors. He told us that he saw a woman screaming, "My kids.. My kids, they are burning."

So, one by one, he helped them out through a back window and down a ladder.

A man, a mother and a teenager escaped, but 3-year-old Amy and her 5-year-old brother, Miguel, were sleeping. Fire separated them from everyone else.

"When I saw them wheel the baby out, all I saw was the legs and the pampers. I knew it was one of the kids, Yvette Hamlett said.

Amy was killed in the fire. Miguel was taken by helicopter to the burn unit at St. Barnabas Medical Center in critical condition.

"The building was gone. It happened so fast," Rafael Brito said.

Brito was one of the people rescued by Carlos.

"We lost everything. There is nothing upstairs to save," he said.

Henry Zamora, 11, lost everything as well, even the shoes off his feet, but he is lucky to be alive.

Henry's story of survival is particularly dramatic.. He told us he was able to climb out a window on the third story. He got onto the roof and was able to jump from one roof to another before he was rescued.

And even at the young age of 11, he knows what was lost here. He knows what could have happened to him.

Seven other people from the house were taken to University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. It is not considered suspicious.

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