ATLANTIC CITY — Two women were killed in a large fire that burned a multiple-family home Friday evening.
Firefighters were called to the four-story house on the first block of North Providence Avenue before 5 p.m. and found the back of the building engulfed in flames, Fire Chief Dennis Brooks said. Thick smoke showed from the front of the home.
The fire moved quickly up the rear of the house, where a car was also burned. Authorities said they believe the fire started in the rear of the first or second floor.
A woman was pulled from the third floor in what was described as “very bad condition,” with burns and suffering from smoke inhalation, Brooks said. She died on the way to the hospital.
A second woman, who lived alone and whose identity was not released, was found dead inside after firefighters did several searches. She was found on the fourth floor under roof collapse. She was still in her casino uniform, firefighters said.
The first victim has been identified as Phung Tat. She was about 49, according to her niece.
She lived there with her husband and 13-year-old son. There is also an 18-year-old daughter in school in Florida.
Phung Tat's sister, brother-in-law and a nephew also lived in another floor of the home. Her husband was at work when the fire started, and officials waited until he got home to tell the family, who are Vietnamese. Police Officer Huan Le translated at the scene.
The sister cried and crouched to the ground when told of the death, after firefighters had put out the blaze.
Mayor Don Guardian picked her up and hugged her as the woman sobbed.
“Why? Why?” she screamed a while later.
Firefighters also poured water on the house next door to keep the fire from spreading.
At least six people were displaced. The Red Cross got two rooms for them.
The family had been staying at the home after being displaced by Hurricane Sandy, Guardian said.
He shook his head as he contemplated what had happened.
“This is city living,” he said, then pointed toward the ocean, blocks away.
“Down there, there’s lifeguard races,” he said. “And two blocks away, two women are dead.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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