Three men believed to be squatters were killed when a fast-moving fire roared through an abandoned multifamily home in northern New Jersey.
But police officers rescued another man after the fire broke out around 1 a.m. Sunday in Orange.
Essex County prosecutors tell The Star-Ledger of Newark that the home had no water or electricity. The three victims found on the second floor apparently died from burns and smoke inhalation.
The fire was reported by Orange police officer Ada Vasquez, who was on routine patrol in the area when she smelled smoke.
Vasquez and fellow officer Anthony Holmes broke down the front door and rescued one man. The officers heard shouts from the other three victims, but the fire’s intense flames and heat prevented them from rescuing the others.
It’s believed that a heating device may have ignited the fire, but authorities say the investigation is ongoing. No other injuries were reported in the fire, and no other buildings were damaged.
Orange city spokesman Anthony Salters told the newspaper that the fire was a “tragedy of epic proportions.”