7-Year-Old Boy Dies, 5 Hurt as Fire Roars Through New Jersey Home

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A fast-moving fire roared through a home in New Jersey's largest city early Thursday, killing a 7-year-old boy and injuring several others.

The fire in Newark apparently broke out around 4:45 a.m., authorities said, and heavy flames and smoke were shooting out when firefighters arrived.

The boy's father was able to escape the burning three-story home through a front door and then went to the roof of a neighboring home, where he tried unsuccessfully to get back into his residence and save his son, authorities said.

Firefighters soon used a ladder to help bring the father down from the neighboring home, which had also caught fire along with another nearby home. Surveillance video also showed someone (possible the father) try to enter the burning building to save the boy, but the flames were too much at that point, as a fireball engulfed the front of the building.

The child’s body was found on the third floor of the home. His name has not been released, but a staffer from the boy's school identified him as Sahiir Hartfield. Surveillance video from the day before the fire shows the young student inside a neighborhood bodega with his mother, and the staffer told NBC New York that Hartfield was a joy to have as a student, always ready to learn. Neighbors spoke similarly of the child.

Two adults and three other children were being treated at a hospital for undisclosed injuries suffered in the blaze. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Witnesses told NBC New York that the young boy who moved to this area with his family only a few months ago.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Firefighters rushed to 63 Astor Street in Newark around 4 a.m. after reports that a child was trapped on the third floor of the burning home. A spokesperson with the Essex County Prosecutor's Office later confirmed that the boy has died. NBC New York's Erica Byfield reports.
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