Girl, 13, found dead after fire destroys northern NJ home

The body of a 13-year-old girl was found following a fire in a northern New Jersey home, authorities said.

Franklin borough police say fire crews and officers responded to the report of the fire shortly after 10 p.m. Friday and found the 2 1/2-story home engulfed in flames.

Sgt. Robert Vander Ploeg said two residents on the second floor had to escape through a window onto a low roof and sustained minor injuries. He said a friend staying with the 13-year-old girl’s family sustained minor burns as they tried to go back into the house to rescue the girl.

The blaze, which completely destroyed the house, was under control around four hours after it was reported Vander Ploeg said. The cause is under investigation.

"It’s a family that’s lived in town for quite some time," Vander Ploeg said. "So it’s a loss that’s being acutely felt, as you can imagine."

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The Franklin school district has activated a crisis intervention team, John Giachi, chief schools administrator, said in a letter to local families Saturday, the New Jersey Herald reported.

"We have counselors available for any student who may need or want help surrounding this loss," he wrote. "We encourage you, as parents, to also use our resources if you feel the need."

Victoria Caravaggio, who said she was the fiancée of the girl's uncle, said on a GoFundMe page created Saturday that the family had lost "everything and anything anyone could possibly lose."

The teenager, she said, "was such a funny beautiful girl who had a whole life to live and was constantly surrounded by all her siblings and her loving big family."