Kids, Ages 1 and 6, Die in NJ Blaze; Survivors Begged Girl to Jump

Efforts to save two children trapped in a burning New Jersey home failed, and both perished in the blaze even as relatives begged the older girl to jump from the window, authorities and witnesses said Saturday.

Neighbor Shantya Lemay said she watched a man yelling to 6-year-old Jayda McEachin from outside the three-story home on Central Place in Orange.

"He's like, 'Jump! Daddy got you! Daddy got you!' And she wouldn't come," Lemay said. "The oldest daughter was out here screaming and hollering. And everybody kept trying to go back inside with, like, fire extinguishers and tried to get the baby out."

People could hear the little girl's yells, said neighbor Tyrena Simms.

"She was screaming out the window, screaming for help," Simms said of the 6-year-old. "But the fire was too aggressive."

NBC 4 New York cameras captured a man walking into the burning building, but firefighters ran after him and quickly pulled him back out.

By the time firefighters arrived on the third floor of the home, McEachin and her 1-year-old brother Zion Tony were dead, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office said.

The children's mother and six other occupants escaped the fire, which started shortly after 8:30 p.m. Friday. Two were treated at a hospital.

"They physically jumped out of the window," said Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren as he described the escape of at least some members of the group. "The blaze apparently was just waving through the house very quickly, and given the heat of the blaze and smoke they jumped out of the window to safety."

A paramedic on the scene said EMS had transported a woman to the hospital with burns on over 60 percent of her body. Authorities didn't immediately release details of the condition of the people who were taken to the hospital.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.

-- Michael George contributed to this report.

Contact Us