New Jersey

Sleeping Woman Saved by Neighbor in Fast-Moving New Jersey Fire

Fourteen people have been displaced in a large fire that ripped through homes and businesses on a street in Paterson, New Jersey, authorities say.

It's not clear what sparked the blaze at River and Lyon streets Friday morning, but officials say there was already heavy smoke and flames when firefighters got to the scene. 

One building in particular, no. 68, sustained "very severe" damage to the entire third floor and the attic, Deputy Fire Chief Brian McDermott said on the scene. 

One woman living in one of the burning buildings was sleeping after working overnight when she was suddenly startled awake. 

"All I hear is people knocking the door down and they're telling me to get out," said Karina Matos. "I leave and I come out of the apartment, and the hallway is already on fire. Next thing you know, everything's on fire.

"I was like, 'Thank God.' I spoke to God because if it wasn't for them -- I was sleeping. It was a neighbor, I guess they broke into the building and knocked the door down," she said. 

No one was hurt in the fire, and the number of people displaced may go up slightly. Paterson police and Red Cross are assisting them. 

McDermott says the fire department and prosecutors are investigating the cause of the fire. 

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