SPRING VALLEY, New York (WABC) -- At least five people, including two children, were killed in a house fire that engulfed a Rockland County home early Saturday.
"It was a pretty bad blaze because as I said, just everything catching fire from inside...it was like a furnace in there," said Cleavon Campbell.
Emergency responders arrived on Lake Street in Spring Valley after a two-family home burst into flames at 4 a.m.
"One person actually jumped out a second floor window," said Rockland County Fire Coordinator Chris Kear.
In a desperate effort to escape, fire officials describe Sandra Turner's sister and her family who lived on the first floor. They all made it out alive, she told Eyewitness News on the phone.
"When my sister call me to say the place was on fire, I was frozen," said Turner.
Not everyone who lived at the home was as fortunate - especially those upstairs. Officials say at least five people died, two of them were children.
First responders say they were there within minutes and the fire was under control in less than 40 minutes, but describe difficult conditions upon arrival. The flames had already engulfed the home.
"Gaining entry at that point in time even early on was virtually impossible, but every effort was made and unfortunately circumstances are what they are," added Kear.
The fire is reminiscent of another deadly Spring Valley fire at an assisted living facility almost two years to the day.
Turner is feeling very grateful her family made it out of this one.
"I'm very sorry for the family who lost so many family members, but I'm very grateful that I wasn't put in that position. I don't know how we'd make it through as a family," she said.
Officials say five survivors are being treated at area hospitals. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.
It is unclear how many people total lived in the two-story home.
Whether there are any working smoke detectors is under investigation. Officials say a violation for non-working detectors was corrected in 2021.
Authorities asked anyone with information on the fire to call Det. Phil Fantasia at 845-721-9562.
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