1 dead after house fire in Pemberton, Burlington Co.

PEMBERTON TWP., N.J. (WPVI) -- Officials say one person was killed in an early morning house fire in Pemberton Township, Burlington County on Friday.

The call came in at 5:34. A neighbor dialed 911 to report that a house in the 400 block of Cornell Avenue was on fire.

Police were there in a matter of minutes and rushed to the burning house. When they knocked on the door the owner, 71-year-old Esteban Rivera, answered.

"He was removed but by the time they got him to a safe location the area of the house that was on fire was fully involved," said Pemberton Police Chief David Jantas.

At this point the victim is not being identified pending notification of her family. She's described as being in her 40's, unrelated to the homeowner. Her body was found in a second-floor bedroom.

"It was some difficulty in locating her because a portion of the room she was in had collapsed. And so firefighters had to do some extra searching and debris was on top of her," said Pemberton Fire Dept. Chief Craig Augustoni.

"She was seriously burned to the point we are not comfortable making positive identification at this time," says Chief Jantas.

A neighbor, Gus Ramirez, recorded video of the fire on his phone.

"Maybe like five feet. The flame was about five feet above the chimney, just shooting up, straight up," he said.

Sylvia and George Johnson, who live across the street, woke up to the fire.

"When we got up and looked out, we saw the flames shooting out the house there and then all the fire trucks and stuff," George Johnson said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but apparently oxygen was being used in the home and that may have contributed to the fire's spread
"Of course having oxygen in a room where there's a fire is not a good thing and I'm sure it had something to do with the fire becoming fully involved," says Jantas.

Action News is told that two children of the deceased woman also lived in the house, but neither of them were in there when the fire broke out.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.