NEW JERSEY - Authorities on Tuesday were investigating what caused a five-alarm fire in Elizabeth that left three girls and one woman dead. The girls' mother remained in critical condition.
The fire broke out Monday at about 6 p.m. in a building that includes apartments and commercial space.
Three police officers were a block from the fire and rushed to the rear of the building where a woman and girl were stuck behind a window with bars, according to Mayor Christian Bollwage. Firefighters arrived at the scene and were able to remove the bars and rescue the woman and girl.
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Daniela Marquez, 8, her sister, Paola Marquez, 10, and friend, Elizabeth Correas, 11, were killed according to city spokeswoman Kelly Martin. Candida Martinez-Del Reyes, age 41, was also killed.
The bodies of Paola Marquez and Martinez-Del Reyes were discovered Tuesday morning.
The girls' mother, Merlyn Vasquez, 36, remains hospitalized
Dozens of residents were displaced in the massive blaze. Mayor Bollwage called it a 'sad day.'
The Associated Press contributed to this report.