Father, 2 young daughters escape Jersey City fire out window

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A father and his two young daughters escaped a fire in their Jersey City home by jumping out of a second-floor window.

The three-alarm fire started in the rear of the four family house on Gates Avenue just after 10:30 a.m. Friday.

The father, later identified as Orlando Martinez, was stuck inside the burning building with two of his young daughters.

As smoke filled the home, he had to make a quick decision and tossed his daughters, ages 2 and 5, out a second-story window onto an awning and then into the arms of other residents.

He had to make the jump too. Martinez suffered a minor injury climbing out the window -- an apparent cut to his arm -- but says he is grateful.

"I give it to God, he speaks, so he gave me that chance," Martinez said.

The Red Cross said they were helping 30 residents from eight different families after the fire. Three buildings were evacuated.

The owner of the building was arrested at the scene for an outstanding warrant unrelated to the fire.

"The municipal prosecutor called the sergeant that was at the scene and updated him on the status of his warrants and then they arrested him," Jersey City Fire Department Chief Steve McGill said.

Firefighters said this was not their first time at the Gates Avenue building.

"We were here for a fire in December, and they corrected the issues," said Steve Fulop, Jersey City's mayor.

While the cause of the fire is being investigated, Jersey City officials have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help.

Physical donations, including clothing and nonperishable food, can be dropped off at two temporary locations for the victims of the fire which left 24 adults and children without basic necessities:

New Life United Holy Church

128 Linden Ave
Sundays 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.

Cherry's Lounge
102 MLK Drive

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