Police say house fire kills mother and 7-year-old son in Nutley
NUTLEY — A 29-year-old township woman and her young son died in a house fire Saturday afternoon, according to township officials.
Amanda Russo and a seven-year-old boy were both pronounced dead following the fire, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.
Township Commissioner Alphonse Petracco said the Nutley Fire Department responded within minutes to the home on Park Avenue, but the fire already had engulfed the upper portion of the house, "making rescue attempts very difficult."
A 74-year-old man also was injured in the fire, Petracco said.
Joe Caprio, another township resident, said he was driving on Park Avenue when he saw the fire and stopped to help.
In an emotional post on his personal Facebook page, Caprio said he called 911 and then got out of his car and "started banging on all the windows and doors around the house to see if anyone was home."
Caprio said as he stood at the front door, "An older man emerged covered in soot and burns. He said to me, 'my grandson [7 yrs old] and daughter are in there.' I looked up the stairs and saw it engulfed with flames."
Caprio said that's when the fire department arrived.
“This is an extremely difficult time for our town having lost two of our residents and our prayers and thoughts go out to the family. As a township, we will offer any support we are able to provide during these difficult days,” Petracco said in a written statement.
As of Sunday, there is no word on what may have caused the fire, which remains under investigation by the Essex County Prosecutors Office.
There were at least two GoFundMe campaigns setup Sunday to help the surviving family members — one page organized by Caprio and a second page organized by a family friend, Danielle Furman.
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