An elderly man and his wife died in a fire at their New Jersey home early Monday that authorities say was caused by faulty wiring in the basement.
Fire officials say they received a call about the blaze at the home on Overmount Avenue in Woodland Park shortly after midnight. Smoke was billowing out of the home when they arrived, but they couldn't immediately knock the door down due to concerns about a potential back draft, officials said.
When firefighters did break in, they found the 74-year-old wife unconscious on the floor just inside the front door. Emergency personnel tried to resuscitate her. She didn't survive.
Authorities say her 76-year-old husband was found on the floor next to his bed upstairs. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Fire officials say the fire started in the basement; an electrical wire coming from the main electric box had been rubbing against a metal vent pipe and, over time, the wire insulation wore off, sparking the blaze. The fire spread from the basement to the first floor, and smoke consumed both floors of the house, officials said.
Smoke detectors in the home had been melted by the flames, so officials weren't able to determine if they were operational.