- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

FAIR LAWN, N.J. (AP) - Two women have died in a fire at a northern New Jersey independent living facility that housed formerly homeless people.

Fire Chief Kirk Wolthouse told The Record (https://bit.ly/1P5Zv37 ) newspaper two other women were taken early Monday to a hospital with injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

Fire crews were dispatched to the Fair Lawn blaze at the two-story home on Berkshire Road around 11:52 p.m.

The fire started in an upstairs bedroom, and there is no sign it was set, said Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli.

Executive director David Moore of the Alliance Against Homelessness of Bergen County says the independent living facility was for formerly homeless people with disabilities who can care for themselves and do their own shopping.

“We take people as young as 18 and as old as 80 if they’re ambulatory and able to be independent,” Moore said. “The wonderful thing that we see is people do turn their lives around with stable housing.”

The two women killed had housing for less than a year after being homeless, NJ.com reported.

“It’s devastating on several levels,” Moore said. “Not just the loss of these people, but the inability for these two women to meet their potential.”

Fire Chief Kirk Wolthouse said the two victims were found by firefighters on the second floor of the house after the fire was mostly extinguished.

Moore said all four women living in the home were in their 50s or 60s and had no physical disabilities that would’ve prevented them from fleeing.

No names have been released pending notification of family.


Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com

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