Four people have been killed in a fast-moving fire in New Jersey in which the mayor says a mix-up over the address caused a delayed response.

Jersey City fire (PIX 11)

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says it took firefighters seven to eight minutes to get to the scene Thursday instead of the normal three to four minutes because of miscommunication by dispatch over the address.

The mayor says dispatchers thought the caller said Grand Street but the fire was on Grant Avenue.

Fulop says the home was already engulfed in flames when calls came in.

Two bodies were recovered in the morning and two more later in the day.

Neighbors say they believe a couple in their 80s and their two sons, who are in their 50s, are the victims.

A man who lives across the street said he returned home about 1 a.m. Thursday after celebrating his 40th birthday when he looked out his window to make sure he'd turned out all the lights in his car.

"I saw the flames coming out of the first-floor entrance," Charles Davis said. "At some point the wind was blowing the fire across the street and into the other houses, and they had to evacuate everybody."

Video shot by Davis appeared to show a man running up to the house and trying to enter as the fire raged, only to be grabbed by police. Davis said he heard the man shouting, "My grandmother is in there!"

Carolyn Oliver-Fair, of Jersey City, and Bernadine Byrd, of Newark, said the pastor often held services at his house and also preached in Newark and elsewhere.

"He was just a likable, lovable guy," Oliver-Fair said. "This is absolutely devastating. It's a tragic loss for the community."

 

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