Neighbors are heartbroken after a fatal fire in a South Jersey apartment complex

- Tragedy strikes a South Jersey apartment complex after a fire rips through a home in Blackwood. One man is dead and two others, including a child, are in the hospital. Their neighbors are heartbroken.

“Very nice couple, very beautiful daughter and I just hope they make it through,” Ria Watkins said. She is sad for the family next door.

A little after 2:30 a.m., December 3, an intense and fast moving fire killed a man, sent a child and another adult to the hospital.

“It’s almost Christmas. It’s the holidays, a time when people should be rejoicing and being with their families and this is a very terrible event,” Watkins said.

“I knew him for fourteen years,” another neighbor, Angela Smith said.

The community is tight knit. Like Ria, Angela Smith knows the family and her heart is broken for them.

“Really nice family. They were a really nice family. It’s scary, I wish this never happened,” Smith said.

It was neighbor helping neighbor, bringing out blankets as first responders evacuated residents of the fire damaged building. Still, authorities say the one-alarm fire was totally contained to the second floor unit. 

“We want to gather all the facts and determine what happened here tonight,” Chief Harry Earle, of the Gloucester Township Police, said. “It’s too soon to say. We obviously want to give the investigators time to do their work.” 

First responders pronounced the man dead at the scene of the fire. The child was taken to Saint Christopher’s Hospital. The second adult victim was rushed to Cooper.

“I feel bad for the family that was affected. But, it could have been extremely worse and thank God for the neighbors back here and the first responders and everyone else who participated,” Watkins said.

The fire marshal’s office as well as Gloucester County police investigators are looking into the cause of the deadly blaze.

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