Grandmother Killed in Paterson House Fire

The woman's grandchildren, Alejandra Velard and Christian Velarde, were among the eight others who were in the Trenton Avenue house at the time of the fire

By Pat Battle
|  Wednesday, Jul 25, 2012  |  Updated 8:41 PM EDT
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Three members of one family are hurt by the fire that raced through their Trenton Avenue home. The grandmother did not survive. New Jersey Reporter Pat Battle was on the scene.

NBC 4 New York

Three members of one family are hurt by the fire that raced through their Trenton Avenue home. The grandmother did not survive. New Jersey Reporter Pat Battle was on the scene.

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Authorities say a 76-year-old grandmother died in a house fire in Paterson that left others, including firefighters, injured.     

The woman's grandchildren, Alejandra Velarde and Christian Velarde, were among the eight others who were in the Trenton Avenue house at the time of the fire. The siblings were trapped on the top floor, and are now in critical condition.

"Please pray for me, pray for my family and especially my children," said their mother Beatrice Velarde.

Elizabeth Valderrama was asleep in a first-floor bedroom when something awakened her. She looked out to see a wall of flames barreling towards her.

"I shut the door and jumped out the window," she said. "I was lucky 'cause I live on the first floor, but my friend -- she jumped out the second-floor window. I think she has broken ribs, a broken leg and a collapsed lung.

Two emergency medical technicians en route to another call spotted the fire as they drove down Trenton Avenue, and jumped out of their ambulance to help. They resuscitated the woman who jumped from the second floor, and she remains in critical condition.

"Fire spreads quickly," said Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino. "It's not the result we wanted, but it could have been much worse."

Valderrama and two other women who apparently rented rooms from the homeowner were able to get out on their own. Three firefighters were burned as they raced inside to try to help the victims who could not escape the raging inferno. 

Alejandra Velarde and Christian Velarde, both college students, were home for the summer, and friends said they were supposed to leave Monday to go back to school.

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