Two young boys and their uncle were killed in a house fire Monday morning on a New Jersey block where the family lived for over 40 years, authorities and family members say.
The fire started on the second floor of the home on High Street near Park Avenue in Orange and trapped a 51-year-old man and his two nephews, 2 and 7, on the third floor, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.
The horror was captured on cellphone video, with family members screaming outside as they watched their house burn with the two boys and their uncle trapped inside. The home was engulfed in flames, with all three floors on fire. There were 10 people inside the home at the time of the blaze, authorities said.
Five members of the May family were hospitalized with severe burns after witnesses said they tried to run into the burning home. Despite their efforts, 2-year-old Nishawn, his brother 7-year-old Nayon and their uncle, identified by family as Maurice May, all died. The boys' mother saved her teenage daughter but could not reach her sons.
"Her whole body was burned," said family member Star May at the scene. "She doesn't know that her kids didn't get out."
Members of the May family have lived on the 200 block of High Street in Orange since 1975. Just hours after the devastating fire, their home was torn down after all the floors collapsed into the basement.
Quadirah May and her two babies were on the first floor when they escaped. She questioned the Orange Fire Department response.
"You're a firefighter, you took the job to put your life on the line for other people," said Quadirah. "And you didn't even attempt to go in. The fire wasn't that bad by the time they arrived."
Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren said that the fire department was at the scene of the blaze 3 minutes after they got a 911 call, and the director of the town's fire department said all three floors of the home were on fire and they immediately called for more help.
The cause of the fire is unclear.