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Fatal Fire Rips Through Multi-Family Home In Flanders

Fatal Flanders Fire (Credit: Jim Smith WCBS 880)

Fatal Flanders Fire (Credit: Jim Smith WCBS 880)

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FLANDERS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A house fire in the Flanders section of Mount Olive left a man and a young child dead, acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp announced on Monday afternoon. Two others were also injured in the house fire, authorities announced.

Knapp says 52-year-old Hesham Moustafa and a 7-year-old child were killed in the fire.

Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum posted on his Facebook page earlier Monday that an early morning fire may have claimed the life of a child.

The fire broke out inside a multi-family home on Main Street in Flanders around 4 a.m.

“Very heroic. They went through fire,” Flanders Fire Chief Frank Zeller said.

Zeller said firefighters didn’t waste any time marching through the flames to try to rescue those trapped inside the burning house.

“They brought one person out the front, went back in to continue and found the other two in the bathroom,” Zeller said.

Firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to locate a little girl who was trapped inside. Zeller said she was not breathing when firefighters carried her out, but EMS crews were able to revive her at the scene.

Moustafa and his 7-year-old son were found in the bathtub where it is believed the 52-year-old was trying to protect the boy.

“(Hesham) loved him so much…More than anything in his life,” Mohamad Alezabi, the victims friend told CBS 2 reporter Christine Sloan.

“The little light at the tunnel is we have one saved,” Zeller said.

Witnesses say flames were shooting through the home when firefighters arrived, and the fire’s intense heat and smoke hampered rescue efforts.

On his Facebook page, Greenbaum offered his condolences and prayers and also thanked volunteers who ran into the burning home to try to save those inside.

Neighbors say all four units in the apartments were occupied by families. Nine people were able to escape the fire and are now being assisted by the Red Cross.

Investigators on the scene believe the fire was started in the kitchen of one of the units. The cause is still under investigation.

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