WILDWOOD CREST, N.J. (CBS) — A house in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey caught on fire not once, but twice.
Video shows flames and smoke pouring through a multi-unit beach home on the 5500 block of Park Boulevard, Monday evening.
Wildwood Crest Firefighters arrived around 6 p.m., and inside three of the occupied units were seven people.
“The entire front of the second-floor apartment was engulfed in flames. It was actually going above the residence,” explained Corporal Chris Webb of the Wildwood Crest Police Department.
Webb and Officer Neil Cullen were some of the first emergency workers on the scene. Within minutes, John Lynch and Mayor Ernie Troiano, both driving home from work, stopped to help.
“We turned the corner and we looked up and we see two kids on this balcony,” explained Lynch, referencing a small balcony where an uncle, his young niece, and nephew were trapped.
“You had fire. Smoke [was] blowing everywhere,” recalled Mayor Troiano.
“[The uncle and the two children] were on the second floor. The only way out was jumping, essentially?” asked CBS’s Greg Argos
“Yes the only way out was jumping,” said Corporal Webb.
Lynch showed our crew the small opening which allowed the uncle to drop his niece into the arms of the three men.
“I did the best authoritative ‘Drop her now!’ and she dropped,” recalled Lynch.
“Ernie caught her like this, I jumped right into Corporal Webb was right underneath us,” said Lynch.
“It was a human safety net,” remarked Argos.
“Absolutely. There was no way anything was going to happen to that little girl. There was nothing that was going to happen,” responded Lynch.
While that rescue was taking place, firefighters had already removed two parents and their child from the first floor, as Officer Cullen, without any firefighting apparatus, kicked down the door of another unit to rescue another victim.
“We made entry into the house and we were able to pull out an elderly woman,” he said.
In the end, no one lost their life. Two pets were also rescued. Investigators have not determined a cause of the fire, but say it is accidental.
To help support the victims, a GoFundMe Page has been created.