KEY POINTS

  • The house fire started shortly before 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 8
  • Two firefighters were injured while trying to douse the fire
  • The blaze resulted in the displacement of nine families 

A woman who was successful in making it out of a house fire in Paterson, New Jersey, was not so fortunate the second time after she returned to the burning house in a bid to save her pet dog.

Paterson police director Jerry Speziale confirmed the victim's identity as 53-year-old Felicia Hernandez De La Cruz, a local food-stand owner.

The fire started shortly before 1:45 a.m. ET on Nov. 8 and spread to two wood-frame homes at 489 and 491 Summer Street. It then developed into a five-alarm fire within 15 minutes, the New York Post reported.

Speziale, who was at the scene of the incident, said witnesses informed him that De La Cruz made it out of the fire the first time, but upon realizing that her dog was still inside, she opted to reenter the burning building, People reported. However, she did not make it out.

Fire excavation crews went back to the site and recovered De La Cruz's body a few hours later, Yahoo News reported.

Speziale claimed the call initially came in as a second-alarm fire. However, the blaze was intense to the point that it worked up to a third, fourth, and fifth alarm. The numerical attributions represent the level of danger, and the number of firefighting crew needed to respond to the fire.

Hundreds of firefighters from the Totowa, Prospect Park and Clifton departments arrived at the scene to assist in putting out the flames that eventually spread to and damaged three other residences.

In addition to the sole fatality, two of the firefighters suffered injuries in the blaze. They were treated for non-life-threatening burns at the Saint Barnabas Hospital located in Livingston. One of the firefighters had burns on the hand and the other suffered burns to the side of the face.

Director Speziale posted a video on Twitter that showed fire department personnel trying to bring the blaze under control.

The fire, unfortunately, resulted in the displacement of nine families, comprising approximately 40 people, from their homes.

There has been no report on what happened with the dog which the woman attempted to save.

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