Thousands without power as flames tear through Newark neighborhood

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Toni Yates has more on the Newark fire.

More than 2,000 people were without power after flames tore through a neighborhood in New Jersey early Friday.

Authorities say the fire started around 3:30 a.m. in an abandoned home on South 14th Street in Newark and spread rapidly across the street on 9th Avenue, knocking down power lines and causing several homes and cars to go up in flames.

"It was vacant," Deputy Chief Richards Gail said. "Firefighters pulled up but could not go in because it was too advanced."

Scores of firefighters were on the scene, battling the harsh conditions and bitter cold in addition to the fire.
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Firefighters are braving frigid conditions in Newark as they battle neighborhood fire.

At least two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Neighbors say squatters had taken shelter there once before about six months ago, lighting a fire that got out of control.

"This is the second time," area resident Linger Espinosa said. "The first time, they put a fire in there."

The devastation spread fast and far, and one man said he is the cousin of the family -- a mother and four children -- who lives next door to where the fire started.

"They said they heard a voice, then pop, pop, pop," he said. "She woke the children to get them out."

She had time only to get her children to safety, after they were awakened from their sleep and rushed out the door with no protection from the elements.

"Her children weren't wearing anything," the cousin said. "So somebody in the neighborhood gave them clothes and shoes."

The official cause is still to be determined.
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fireNewarkEssex County
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