EAST ORANGE, N.J. (AP) — A fire stoked by strong winds swept through a three-story house early Sunday, killing five people including a 6-week-old baby.
The Essex County prosecutor's office said the fire started about 6 a.m. in the single-family home a few blocks north of Route 280. The cause is under investigation.
The victims were identified as 79-year-old Alice Horton; 20-year-old Breiona Love, 6-week-old Lanore Carter-Love; 56-year-old Randy Horton and 60-year-old Ronnie Horton. It wasn't immediately known which of or how the victims were related.
One female resident escaped and was rescued from the roof of the house, according to news reports. Her name was not released.
Christopher Weiss, deputy chief of the East Orange Fire Department, said the home is in a neighborhood of structures that date back to the late 19th century.
"It's one of the oldest neighborhoods in East Orange," he said. "Historically, we've had a lot of serious fires here."
Weiss said strong winds early Sunday morning fueled the blaze, and that the fire had collapsed the back of the house. One person living in a house next door escaped safely.
Deborah Hooper, who lives behind the homes that burned and shares a backyard with one of them, told NJ Advance Media that she woke up to the fire's bright light. She said she immediately ran out to move her car away from the fire.
"It scared me half to death," she said. "I'm traumatic right now."
The North Jersey Region of the American Red Cross said it was helping two families displaced by the fire. Three volunteers responded to provide emotional support and emergency assistance. Four members of the two families were provided assistance in the form of temporary lodging, food and clothing, the agency said.