New York

Huge Fire Engulfs Home in New Jersey; Good Samaritans Rush to Get Families Out

What to Know

  • A fire burned for hours in Paterson, New Jersey, forcing evacuations of homes on the block
  • A good Samaritan rushed to save strangers next door to the one on sale that he was viewing
  • Two firefighters had minor injuries, officials say

A fire raged for hours through a residential block in Paterson, New Jersey, forcing evacuations of homes in the area as firefighters tried to contain the blaze.

Chopper 4 over the scene at Paterson Avenue, between Walnut and Maple streets, showed flames shooting through the roof of the home, along with thick black smoke billowing high into the air. 

On the ground, screams for help could be heard from inside the home as numerous fire trucks and ladder unit descended on the street. 

"My son, he was startled, he was scared," said a woman named Shantay who lived inside the home. "We started hearing the crackle sounds, the alarm." 

Shantay was inside with her 10-month-old baby and 3-year-old toddler, overwhelmed and unsure how to get out when a complete stranger kicked in the door. 

"He helped get my kids, he got my kids out," she said. "We would have been dead. I don't know." 

The good Samaritan was Mario Rivera, who was viewing the house for sale next door when they spotted the fire.

"I had to grab one kid at a time to bring them down," he later told News 4 New York. "Go up, bring another kid down." 

Rivera and his cousins worked fast to get the eight children and three adults out fast, saving their lives and risking their own. 

"At one point, when I was upstairs looking for people, I felt my life was in danger but I still gotta do it," he said. 

The fire even jumped to the building next door at one point -- the one Rivera and his cousins had considered buying.

Paterson Fire Deputy Chief Mike Fleming said two firefighters with minor injuries were transported to the hospital.  

A cause of the fire was not clear. 

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