Father gives baby to neighbor to save from fast-moving Camden fire

CAMDEN (WPVI) -- A quick-thinking father turned to a neighbor to help save his family, including a baby, as a fast-moving fire moved from home to home in Camden, New Jersey.

Fire officials say the flames were moving from house to house along the front porch roof line.

The same porch roof played a critical role in the escape of Victor and Mariel Ammanzar and their baby.

After getting their 5-year-old out safely, Victor ran back upstairs to his wife and baby.

Trapped by smoke, Victor led his wife and youngest out a front window along the porch to the next house.

"I don't have words. If it wasn't for him, I would be upstairs because I didn't have the strength to go down with a baby," Mariel said.

Once out on the porch roof, the trio went next door to Jeannette Hernandez's home, which would also catch fire.

"We were sleeping at the house. I heard banging at the window on the second floor, on the roof. I opened the window and it was the neighbor from next door," Hernandez said. "He was giving me his baby for me to save her. I grabbed the baby. He went in the window and his wife went in the window. I took the baby and we all ran down the stairs."

A police officer, a firefighter, and six others were injured in the two-alarm fire that began around 3 a.m. Thursday on the 900 block of Cedar Street.

All injuries are said to be minor and everyone is expected to be OK.

The Ammanzar family dog did not make it out of the burning home.

Neighbor Ed Hutchinson captured the flames coming from the back and front of one of the homes.

EMBED More News Videos

Viewer Video: Multi-alarm fire in Camden, New Jersey on December 20, 2018. (Courtesy: Ed Hutchinson)

Action News spoke to Hernandez's sister Margarita Alonso.

Alonso said her sister, who is a cancer survivor, lost everything after her home caught on fire, too. Alonso said her family had just celebrated her nephew coming back home from the Army.

EMBED More News Videos

8 injured in Camden fire, 4 homes destroyed. Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on December 20, 2018.

"We need help. My sister is homeless right now. She lost everything. My neighbor's lost everything," Alonso said.

Officials say the fire reached a total of six homes, leaving four of them uninhabitable.

The Red Cross says they are helping 19 people displaced by the fire.

EMBED More News Videos

Multiple injuries in Camden house fire. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News Mornings on December 20, 2018.

The cause is under investigation.

EMBED More News Videos

Homes damaged in Camden fire. Tamala Edwards reports during Action News Mornings on December 20, 2018.

Send a News Tip to Action News
Learn More About 6abc Apps
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.