Neighbors Say Fire Started When A Dog Knocked Over A Lit Candle

ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Towering flames forced evacuations Tuesday night as a 4-alarm blaze violently ripped through homes in Elizabeth.

As the neighborhood watched in horror, the flames showed no mercy on the homes of three families on Monroe Avenue.  The blaze started around 8:30 p.m. and spread from house to house.

One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury and is at Trinitas Hospital in stable condition. Four civilians were treated for smoke inhalation, officials said.

People who lived in the buildings looked on tearfully as the flames tore through the places they called home. The fire left at least a dozen families homeless, CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reported.

“We just saw the fire started and we came outside and I just got my children. Whatever we have on, that’s all we have. We have nothing else left and we lost everything,” cried Suzie Raposo, a single mother of three.

suzie raposo elizabeth fire victim 4 Alarm House Fire In Elizabeth, N.J. Brought Under Control

Suzie Raposo tells CBS 2 she lost everything in the fire. (credit: CBS 2)

She wasn’t alone. Paula Charria said she was playing with her daughter when she heard someone banging on her door telling her to get out.

“I just saw all the flames coming from next door, burning the back porch,” she said. “Everything is in there. I got out with my kids, which is the most important thing. My daughter lost a cat in there but…all I have left is the clothes that I’m wearing. The clothes that my kids are wearing.”

Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze. Neighbors told Hennessey that the fire may have started when a dog knocked over a lit candle.

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