Man found dead after Trenton blaze that left 4 firefighters injured

Katherine Scott Image
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Fire tears through 100-year-old boarding house
Fire tears through 100-year-old boarding house in Trenton. Katherine Scott reports during Action News at Noon on January 3, 2019.

TRENTON (WPVI) -- A man was found dead following a massive fire in Trenton, New Jersey early Thursday morning.

The fire erupted around 1 a.m. in the 900 block of West State Street, in a building that is more than 100 years old.

The man's body was discovered after firefighters were able to search the third floor of the building on Thursday afternoon.

The name of the victim has not been released.

Firefighters injured battling Trenton boarding house fire,. Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on January 3, 2019.

There were a number of challenges in battling this fire. There were fears that some of the main beams inside could collapse, so crews were forced to pull out and battle the fast-moving flames from the outside.

"When I woke up, my air conditioner, the whole wall, was coming on fire," resident Synetta Bethea said.

The flames burned through Bethea's ceiling, quickly ripping through the building, which is divided into apartments.

"I went to grab a pot, filled it up with water, threw it up. Then I heard people upstairs saying, 'There's a fire in a bedroom! There's a fire in a bedroom,'" Bethea said.

The smoke detectors woke owner and resident Bruce Keyes who ran to an empty room and spotted the flames.

"I pulled the couch up, and all this fire came out inside the wall. It was burning. It went right up to (the) bedroom. The whole ceiling went up in flames," Keyes said.

Firefighters battle fire at Trenton boarding house. Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on January 3, 2019.

Most residents, around a half dozen, escaped on their own. But Keyes says he grabbed a ladder to help one resident who was trapped and later treated for smoke inhalation.

"He was over on the roof. I had to get a ladder and get him down," Keyes said.

Two of the four firefighters injured in this blaze suffered burns.

"These houses are extremely old. The wood in there is extremely dry. And some of these houses get chopped up and subdivided and it makes it extremely hard to get in there," Moran said.

The state fire marshal was called to the scene. The cause of this fire remains under investigation.


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