A grandmother and granddaughter died in a fire early Friday morning, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office has confirmed.
The fire began at about 3:40 a.m. on the 200 block of Woodlawn Avenue.
The identities of the woman, in her 40s, and nine-month-old baby, as well as their cause of death has not been released.
Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri noted that the fire, which took place at a two-and-a-half story woodframe duplex, caused a partial roof collapse.
The baby girl and woman “were found deceased inside the residence,” said Onofri.
Three other people were injured in the blaze and sent to a hospital, authorities said. Their current condition was not immediately available.
A group of at least 20 people were standing around the house on Friday afternoon as an investigation into the fire continued. Two women sat close to the houses, in white chairs, with their heads bowed as if in prayer.
“It’s hitting our family really hard, really, really hard,” Toshua Tanner, who said she is related to the family who lived at the house, told NJ Advance Media. “I remember last year they had a baby shower around this time.”
Neighbor Lioder Metellus said he escaped from an adjacent house that also caught fire.
“They’re our neighbors, we see them every day,” he said. “I was in shock. At the same time, I was knocking on some doors, but everybody was asleep. I am traumatized to say the least.”
Joe Shamma, owner of an adjacent house, said he got a call from a tenant early in the morning.
“The flames were like roaring 20 feet over the house,” Shamma, who has owned the property for 35 years, said. “It started with the green one, you can see it, but the flames, they burnt the whole thing down, on the other side, my house too.
“I never expected this kind of thing. I expected to own this house, give it to my kids, but you never know in this life.”
Hamilton Mayor Jeff Martin, in a statement, said, “This is a very sad day for Hamilton. This tragedy touches the heart of everyone. This morning I met with the family to grieve with them and their loved ones and offer our support in any way we can.”
In an online post, the local fire union called it, “one of the most tragic nights in the history of the fire service in Hamilton.”
The cause of the fire, which is under investigation, is not currently known, the prosecutor’s office said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Det. Anthony Sturchio at 609-989-6406, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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