LODI, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A 25-year-old man has died after a house fire in Lodi, New Jersey.
CBS2s Kiran Dhillon spoke to his family who is heartbroken by the tragedy.READ MORE: New York State To Adopt New CDC Guidelines For Vaccinated People Starting This Wednesday, Cuomo Says
As flames shot out of the home in Lodi early Monday morning, devastated family members watched in horror as crews rushed to save the young man who was trapped inside.
The family of Ezequiel Gonzalez was shattered to learn the 25-year-old did not make it out. His sister Myriam was in shock.
“He was great. He had a big heart. He was just so kind and a great person,” she said.
Officials say the fire started around 6 a.m. on the second floor of this home on Westminster Place. Myriam Gonzalez says her family lived on the top floor, and the bottom was occupied by tenants. She says her brother Ezequiel also had a few friends spend the night.
Everyone rushed out as flames filled the home.
“I just know that there was a candle. I grabbed my dog and I ran out,” Myriam Gonzalez said.
Neighbor Michael Milioto said he awoke to a loud bang and saw one of Ezequiel’s friends jumping out of a second floor window.
“I heard a big bang with the glass, and then a thud as,” said Milioto.
Those friends were frantic to get Ezequiel out ,too.
“‘You have to go get him. You have to go get him. Please, please, please go get him. The candles were left on, we’re so sorry,'” Milioto said, quoting Ezequiel’s friends.READ MORE: New Jersey Schools To Fully Reopen For In-Person Classes This Fall, Gov. Murphy Says
Web Extra: GoFundMe For Gonzalez’s Family
Milioto says the boy’s mother was equally frantic, trying to get someone, anyone, to go into the house and get her son.
“I was heartbroken. I get it. She was running up and I wished I could have helped her,” he said. “This poor family right after Christmas. It’s just tragic.”
When they arrived, first responders found Ezequiel Gonzalez inside a bedroom on the second floor – the area of the house with the most damage.
The Lodi Fire Department says everyone else that was inside made it out.
Two people were taken to an area hospital, one with smoke inhalation and the other with traumatic injuries.
The Gonzalez family is now just trying to make sense of what happened.
“You never expect it’s going to happen to you or anyone else around you, so just be grateful for what you have,” Myriam said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The Red Cross says it is providing emergency financial assistance to 13 people in the three families that are connected to his fire.MORE NEWS: NYC Adding 250 NYPD Officers To Subways As 24-Hour Service Resumes
MORE FROM CBS NEW YORK
- Group Of 6 Wanted In Suspected Hate Crime, Attack On Woman Not Wearing Mask On Subway, NYPD Says
- Times Square Vendors Concerned They’ll Take Big Hit On 2021 Merchandise; App Available To Watch Celebration Virtually
- NYS Investigating ParCare Community Health Network Over Its Handling Of First Round Of COVID-19 Vaccine