3-Year-Old Girl Perishes in Newark Blaze; Young Boy in Critical Condition

Cause of fast-moving fire under investigation

By Katherine Creag
|  Thursday, Feb 17, 2011  |  Updated 10:37 AM EDT
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A 3-year-old girl died and a 5-year-old boy is in critical condition after a fast-moving fire engulfed a three-story home in Newark.

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A 3-year-old girl perished in a massive, fast-moving fire in Newark this morning while a 5-year-old boy neighbors say is the dead child's brother remains hospitalized in critical condition with severe burns.

Newark Fire Department spokesman Capt. John Brown says seven others who live in the three-story home were taken to University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The 5-year-old was flown by helicopter to the St. Barnabas Medical Center.

The children were on the second floor of the house in the city's North Ward. The fire broke out just after midnight and rapidly engulfed the building.

Witnesses described how a neighbor climbed to an upper window of the home on North 6th Street to help residents get out.

"There were people trapped in there, a few children in there ... He's climbing like Spider-Man," said Gregory Hamlett, another neighbor who witnessed the heroic attempt.

Landlord Noeme Gaton tells The Star-Ledger of Newark that nine people lived in the building. She says the family of five that lived on the second-floor had just moved in over the summer.

Authorities believe the fire may have started on the second floor. The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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