Family ID woman killed in condo fire in Florence, N.J.

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A 72-year-old woman was killed and six others injured, including two firefighters and one police officer, in a two-alarm blaze at a condominium in Burlington County.

A 72-year-old woman was killed and six others injured, including two firefighters and one police officer, in a two-alarm blaze at a condominium in Burlington County.

The deceased was identified by her family Saturday as Irene Thorn Avillion.

Crews responded at 9:32 p.m. Friday to the unit block of Florence Tollgate in Florence, New Jersey.

Officials say the fire started in building 39, which contains 8 units, all of which were damaged in some way.

Witnesses spoke with Action News and told us what they saw including a dramatic rescue of a dog.

"I saw the whole building in flames, the front building, probably going up a good 20-30 feet above the roof," said Mark Krzkalski.

"The gentlemen, I think, who lived upstairs wouldn't leave. He said his dog was in there and as soon as it looked like it was partially out, the firefighters started pointing to a porch and they moved a ladder.

"Apparently his dog had made his way out on the porch, and they carried the dog down and it seems to be alive," said Valerie Costigan.

The fire was brought under control at 11: 30 p.m., officials say.

Officials say Avillion was found Saturday morning in her second-floor unit.

"Last night they pulled the fire department out because they felt the structure was not safe," said Florence Township Police Capt. Brian Boldizar. "During the daytime, during the daylight, they were able to go in and do another search at which time they found the deceased."

"She was a kind-hearted person. She loved animals, she loved people, loved her family," said Lisa Reed, the victim's niece. "She'd do anything, go out of her way for anybody."

The injured victims were taken to local hospitals for nonlife-threatening injuries, and the rescued dog was taken to the veterinarian for smoke inhalation.

The names of the victims have not been released.

Police are working to determine if the cause of the fire could be a case of arson.

Related Topics:
new jersey newsbuilding fireFlorence
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