Authorities have found the body of an 89-year-old woman who went missing after a fire ripped through several homes in Sea Isle City, New Jersey.
Family members and law enforcement sources confirmed to NBC10 that Marie Zielinski died in the fire that broke out shortly before noon Thursday at 54th Street and Landis Avenue. The blaze also left two people injured as it spread to other properties.
Zielinski's body was found inside her apartment, Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland said. An autopsy was performed and her cause of death was tentatively listed as smoke inhalation.
The two injured people suffered burns and smoke inhalation. They were identified as a 56-year-old woman and a 60-year-old man.
The man has since been released from the hospital, but the woman was transferred to Cooper Medical Center for treatment.
When the fire erupted, responding firefighters could be seen dousing the flames as thick smoke poured into the air.
Three duplexes with a total of six units were destroyed or severely damaged. People working nearby ran to the scene, grabbed a ladder and helped rescue a man and woman from a first and second floor balcony. One of the rescuers then jumped to safety.
"We were able to get her to the ladder," Joseph Rice, one of the rescuers, told NBC10. "As soon as they got onto the ladder, started trying to come down, that's when the house kind of blew back with all the smoke and flames. The lady had to jump. We tried to catch her and the other gentleman jumped himself."
Firefighters eventually brought the flames under control.
Detectives from the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office; Sea Isle City Police Department; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Cape May County and New Jersey State Fire Marshal's offices are all investigating the cause of the fire.
Anyone with information or photos or video of the fire is asked to call the prosecutor's office at 609-465-1135 or the SICPD at 609-2634311.
People can also submit anonymous tips through the Cape May County Sheriff's Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net.