Teen dies in NJ house fire

Teen dies in NJ house fire

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A 16-year-old girl died and five other were injured when a massive house fire in Elizabeth, New Jersey Saturday night.

The fire destroyed one home and severely damaged two others

Crews tore down the rooming house that stood on Williams Street on Sunday. Burnt pieces of the home crumbled to the ground as neighbors watched.

Two of the injured were firefighters.

Officials say about 100 firefighters, including the city department’s entire shift, battled the fire in the three-story home starting about 9:30 p.m. Saturday night. The blaze was not completely extinguished until early Sunday morning.

A 15-foot by 15-foot center section on the third floor of the house caved through to the first floor.

"I got a phone call from her. She said ‘help me. I'm trapped. I can't get out. The whole kitchen is on fire,’" said Marcus Johnson.

Johnson lived in the home and he says the person who died was his friends – a teenage girl who was getting ready to graduate from high school.

Authorities have not released her name but Johnson says she stopped by often to visit her boyfriend. Johnson said neither he nor the boyfriend was home at the time and she called both of them for help.

“She was definitely very nice. She was real kind and she had a nice spirit and she had a little feistiness to her," said Johnson

The Fire Department Battalion Chief says the fire was so intense when the crews arrived it was too dangerous for them to go inside. The victim’s body was found in the third floor apartment around 12:30 a.m.

"They attempted to raise ladders to the upper windows for a report of a trapped occupant on the third floor, but they were driven back by the heat and the fire," said Battalion Chief Salvatore Barraco.

Barraco says seven people were inside the legal rooming house at the time and one person jumped from the third floor. The fire also damaged two neighboring homes.

The local Red Cross put up residents who have been displaced by the fire, including the residents from the two homes on either side of the burning house.

Battalion Chief Barraco says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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