Neighbors jump in to save 97-year-old woman from Belleville, New Jersey house fire

BELLEVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) -- Firefighters battled a massive 2-alarm fire at a home in Belleville, New Jersey. The home is destroyed, but the 97-year-old woman who owns the house is safe.

Flames tore through the 2-story home on Belmont Avenue just after 7 p.m. on Saturday.

A woman and her husband were on a walk in the neighborhood when they noticed the flames. They live nearby, and knew that the 97-year-old woman owns the home, and has lived there since she was 5 years old.

"The back of the home was on fire - we know there is an elderly woman there," said Donna Rizzolo.

Rizzolo says the elderly homeowner was at home, but she was asleep.

"My husband and I carried her out the front door," she adds.

Neighbors then began jumping in to help.

"I knew once she was at safety - she drives an old Mustang, and I just wanted to make sure the Mustang was going to be safe, because it's an antique car, and the lady loves it to death," said John Serrano.

Fire crews say the fire started on the second floor and spread rapidly. Neighbors looking out for neighbors knew how to act quickly.

"She came out with nothing. No shoes, no slippers - nothing. Whatever she had on, Donna Rizzolo carried her out," says neighbor Angel Laterza.

The woman is safe at a neighbor's home. Two tenants who live upstairs were not home at the time.

There is no word yet on how the fire started.
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