2 dead, community devastated after early morning house fire in South Hackensack


SOUTH HACKENSACK, N.J. — Two people have died after a fire tore through a home overnight in Bergen County, New Jersey. 

Neighbors tell CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge it’s a very tight-knit community where everyone knows each other, including the family whose home and lives have been devastated.

Firefighters arrived just after 3 a.m. Friday to a burning house on Agar Place in South Hackensack, where residents were trapped inside. 

“We were met with heavy fire, heavy smoke. Weren’t able to get into the home quickly until we had that fire line,” South Hackensack Fire Chief Carmine Maceri told Duddridge. “Once we had that fire line, we went inside, we did our primary searches, we found both parties in the rear of the home in the kitchen area.”

Two residents got out OK. Neighbors said they saw first responders pull two others out. 

“They were doing CPR on them, I looked at them, like I don’t think they’re going to make it,” neighbor Mike Kilgallon said. “Terrible.”

“We located one female victim who is a fatality at this time, a second male victim was also located after that. They were both transported, CPR in progress to the hospital, where they both were pronounced dead,” said Maceri. 

A third person was treated for minor injuries. 

Neighbors said the family has lived there for more than three decades. They believe the father was working a night shift and wasn’t home at the time. They’re not sure who else was inside. 

“Devastating. They’re going to be devastated. The guy is just, I don’t know, he’s a sweet man, a beautiful person,” local store owner Tony Competiello said. “I haven’t seen him, or her I haven’t seen in a while. I know she was become frail, I believe she needed a walker.”

“We’re a real small town, everybody knows everybody. So something like this really hits home to everyone,” said Deputy Police Chief Robert Chinchar.

Video from Chopper 2 captured heavy damage to the home, which has been deemed uninhabitable. 

Fire officials say it’s too early to say what caused the fire, and they are still investigating.



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