8-year-old girl dead, 3 relatives including 9-year-old sister hurt in NJ fire

Darla Miles Image
Friday, December 10, 2021
8-year-old girl dead, 3 relatives including 9-year-old sister hurt in NJ fire
Darla Miles has the latest after a child was killed and three relatives were hurt in a New Jersey house fire.

SOMERVILLE, New Jersey (WABC) -- An 8-year-old girl died and three relatives who jumped from second-floor windows were hurt in a raging fire in New Jersey early Friday, and investigators are trying to figure out what sparked the deadly blaze.

The young child's body was found inside the home, leaving horrified neighbors in shock.

"I heard somebody screaming," eyewitness Timothy Mason said. "I looked out my back window, and I saw the police lights coming down the street."

The glare from the lights and sirens were met by furious flames in the pre-dawn hours at the home on Eastern Avenue in Somerville.

"As soon as I got out my back door, I saw the house fully engulfed," Mason said.

Responders arrived to find a 41-year-old woman, a 31-year-old man and the 9-year-old girl, who suffered burns and cuts from escaping the fire. Officials said they jumped from second-floor windows to escape the flames.

They were told a second child was still trapped inside on the second floor in a rear bedroom, but despite their efforts, they were unsuccessful in gaining entry due to the fire, extreme heat and heavy smoke conditions.

Sources tell Eyewitness News that the mother got out by using a curtain or bedsheets.

"She was pacing back and forth and hysterical, screaming in panic, obviously in shock," eyewitness Fred Aparicio said. "She was running up and down the street, trying to wake people up, I think."

Somerville firefighters along with the Assistant Somerville Fire Chief were finally able to push through the fire and gain access to the second floor in an attempt to make the rescue, but they found the girl unresponsive.

She was pulled from the home and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

''It's a very devastating situation, and I'm very sorry for the family and all involved," Mason said.

The two adults were hospitalized in stable condition, while the 9-year-old girl was transported to a burn trauma center in critical but stable condition.

Eyewitness News is told a mother, two daughters and another relative lived in rented home, and that the homeowner is flying back from Texas because of what has happened.

The victims have not yet been identified.

The Somerset County Prosecutors Office is leading the investigation into the cause of the fire.

The town of Somerville tweeted that grief counselors would be on hand at local schools due to the death of the child.

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