ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An investigation has been launched following a tragic fire in New Jersey.
Two children were killed when flames took over a building in Elizabeth. On Monday night, two adults were fighting for their lives, CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported.
It took well over 100 firefighters from Elizabeth and neighboring department to put out the five-alarm blaze. Well into the evening they were still dealing with hot spots.
Cellphone video of the scene was shot by Miguel Patrikios, who was across the street.
“Like little explosions within the store and then you saw it smoking from inside and then it exploded again and then that’s where you saw the real flames,” Patrikios said, describing the visuals and sound on tape.
“It was like pop and then you would hear a scream and every time it would pop the flames would come bursting out,” witness Juan Diaz added.
Cell phone video from a witness shows “Dollar and Party” store on Elizabeth Ave on fire around 6pm. Mayor & Fire Dir. say 4 ppl pulled out from building. 2 children have died and 2 adults are in critical condition. More at 11 @CBSNewYork pic.twitter.com/ojYps1RjkB
— Alice Gainer (@GainerTV) October 6, 2020
Diaz, who was at the corner, ran to tell his cousin at the business next door.
“Banging on my door, ‘The building’s on fire! The building’s on fire!’ So I run out,” his cousin said.
At around 6 p.m. the Dollar and Party store caught fire on Elizabeth Avenue. Officials said police officers were working in the area and got to the fire first, which was also seen on video.
“In the rear of the building there were bars on the second floor. Eventually, with fire department’s help, they were able to free a woman,” a fire official said.
After prying open the bars, they brought out several people.
“A couple people, a couple kids and some older people, too,” Patrikios said.
Fire officials said there’s a furniture store with apartments in the back on the second floor.
“A lot of furniture in there, a lot of combustible material, and it was hard to control this fire from spreading,” Elizabeth Fire Director Patrick Byrnes said.
Stephany Almonte said she was in the Dollar and Party store a couple of hours prior.
“I’ve been thinking about the cashier,” Almonte said. “I bought something and I said, ‘Have a nice day.’ You know, it’s really sad what happened.”
Officials have not released the names of the victims. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze to one building.
You can get the latest news, sports and weather on our brand new CBS New York app. Download here.