Gloucester County

Houses Collapse as Fire Burns in NJ; 1 Dies, Several Hurt

The fire began before daybreak Thursday along Tatum Street in West Deptford Township, New Jersey

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What to Know

  • Several people were hurt and a woman died as flames tore through homes in Gloucester County, New Jersey, early Thursday.
  • The fire broke out around 4 a.m. on Tatum Street in West Deptford Township.
  • A 54-year-old woman was unable to escape the fire and died, police said.

Smoke filled the air as flames tore through at least two Gloucester County, New Jersey, homes early Thursday leaving several people hurt and one person dead.

The three-alarm fire started around 4 a.m. Both standalone homes later collapsed as they burned along Tatum Street in West Deptford Township. The homes are right off Route 45 near the Colonial Diner in Woodbury and a short distance from Interstate 295.

Four people -- including a 1-month old baby boy -- were hurt and taken to Cooper University Hospital, West Deptford police said. A 54-year-old woman, however, "succumbed to the heavy smoke and fire."

The deceased woman was a family member of the baby and the injured 57-year-old man, 26-year-old woman and 31-year-old man, police said. The 57-year-old man was airlifted to a Pennsylvania hospital for further treatment.

Three people were able to escape from the second home unharmed, police said.

"I just feel bad for them," an emotional neighbor, Tom Dougherty, said. "I can't believe that that happened to them."

No firefighters were hurt.

A third home was also damaged by the fire, firefighters said.

By 5:15 a.m., smoke continued to rise, but the flames appeared to be far less intense. You could smell the smoke in the surrounding neighborhood. Ice formed from the water used to douse the flames.

The fire was finally under control shortly after 7 a.m. as the debris continued to smolder.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Real estate records show that one of the homes sold several months ago. Neighbors said that home was also recently renovated.

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