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DV Pilot police & fire

Rutherford firefighters rescue girl, 3, and others trapped by roaring flames

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Four people — including a 3-year-old girl — were rescued by firefighters after they were trapped by roaring flames on the second floor of a Rutherford garden apartment complex efore dawn this morning.

The fire broke out at the Union Avenue complex off Route 21 just before 4:30 a.m. Flames quickly spread.

Three downstairs residents climbed out ground-floor windows as the fire roared near the common entrance.

But there were people upstairs — a 66-year-old woman at 525 Union Avenue and a family of three at 527: a 57-year old father, his wife, 54, and their 3-year-old daughter.

“The front of the home was engulfed,” Rutherford Police Detective Kevin J. Scannell Jr. said hours later. “There was no way out. They were trapped.”

Sgt. Thomas Lewis and Officers Steve Batchelor and Steve Villareale responded to the scene and confirmed that there was a working fire at the multi-residential unit complex: 523 Union Avenue, 525 Union Avenue, 527 Union Avenue and 529 Union Avenue.

As their colleagues battled the flames, Sgt. Lewis and Rutherford firfighters Tom Twist, Mike Greco, Assistant Chief Rich Minervini and Captain Scott Keon rescued all four by ladder, Rutherford Police Capt. Patrick Feliciano said.The family from 527 Union Avenue was taken to Hackensack University Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation, Feliciano said.

No other injuries were reported.

Rutherford Fire Chief Fred Liller declared the blaze under control with a half hour. The last fire company cleared out at 7:35, the captain said.

Although an investigation was under way, Feliciano said the fire doesn’t initially appear suspicious.

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