NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A yard full of plastic flowers and other decorations helped ignite a fire that led to the deaths of six people, including two children, in Newark on Sunday, authorities said
The artificial flowers were found in front of the house and on the porch, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray told reporters Monday.
“These flowers are highly flammable when ignited and served as a conduit,” Murray said.
Murray said the fire was started by an unknown heat source. She said no criminal intent has been found, but is asking for the public’s help to provide “any information anyone might have about a match, any kind of cigarette or something like a lighter.”
The home on South 15th Street became engulfed in flames just before 4 a.m. Sunday before the blaze spreading to another home, destroying both buildings.
“Everything went up in flames really, really fast,” neighbor Jana Diggs told CBS 2’s Diane Macedo. “We heard ‘pop, pop, pop.’ Next thing, I looked out the window, saw the flames from the backyard.
“We knew people were in there,” said witness Erica Simmons. “It was a woman in the back screaming for help, and it was nothing no one could do about it.”