NEWARK, NJ (AP / CBS New York) – A fire in New Jersey’s largest city killed three people late Wednesday night.

The fire broke out in a three-story brick building at 108 South 8th Street in Newark about 8:30 p.m.

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Fire Chief Michael Lalor said the victims were trapped inside the building and pulled out alive,  but died later at a hospital. Firefighters said the blaze is the deadliest this year in Newark, a gritty city of about 280,000 residents just west of New York.

Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino said the victims were three tenants, a man and two women, but he did not release their identities.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  However, tenants reported that the victims were using candles in the second floor apartment where the fire originated because they had been without electricity since April. There was evidence of melted wax.

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Approximately 20 people were displaced because of the fire.

Teenage neighbor James Wilson told The Star-Ledger newspaper he was playing basketball nearby when he smelled smoke and ran. He said seconds later he saw the building burning.

The fire destroyed windows and damaged wooden beams. The cause hasn’t been determined.

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