• Firefighters struggled to gain access to the building, but could not save Ezequiel Gonzalez
  • Gonzalez's friends, who had been staying overnight with him, jumped out of the window 
  • Police think a candle might have caused the fire 

A 25-year-old man died, while two people managed to escape by jumping out of a second-floor window after a fire broke out in a building in Lodi, New Jersey.

The incident occurred Monday morning. Ezequiel Gonzalez died in the building at Westminster Place as the fire tore through it around 6 a.m. ET, while his horrified family members watched helplessly, ABC7NY reported.

Gonzalez's friends, who had been staying overnight with him, tried to extinguish the fire but failed. Following this, both of them jumped out of the window. One sustained injuries to the head and arm, while the other suffered smoke inhalation.

Seeing Gonzalez trapped inside, his mother and neighbors tried to re-enter the building to rescue him, but the fire was too strong for them. Police and firefighters too struggled to gain access to the building.

His sister Myriam Gonzalez said Ezequiel was a great man. "He had a big heart. He was just so kind and a great person,” CBS New York quoted her, as saying.

She said her family lived on the top floor while tenants occupied the ground floor. Everyone rushed out as flame and smoke filled the home.

“I just know that there was a candle. I grabbed my dog and I ran out,” Myriam said.

Huge flames shot through the roof and neighbors said they woke up to the sound of windows breaking.

"I woke up around 10 to 6 with a loud boom. I thought it was a car accident. It sounded like glass breaking and a loud thud," Mike Milliota told ABC7NY. "I was heartbroken. I get it. His mother was running up, trying to get someone, anyone, to go into the house and get her son. I wished I could have helped her."

The first responders found Gonzalez inside a bedroom on the second floor, the area which suffered the most damage. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but officers said a candle might have ignited the fire.

The Red Cross said it provided emergency financial assistance to 13 people in three families connected to the fire.

Representational image of fire. pixabay