Mom dies after rushing into burning home in New Jersey to try to save daughter

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Monday, January 16, 2023
Hero mom dies after rushing into burning home to try to save daughter
An investigation is underway after a mother and daughter died in a house fire in Hazlet, New Jersey. Toni Yates has the story.

HAZLET, New Jersey -- Fire officials in New Jersey are working to pinpoint the cause of a house fire that left a mother and her young daughter dead.

Flames ripped through the home on Brookside Avenue early Friday morning.

William Montanaro said his wife, 40-year-old Jackie Montanaro, rushed back into the home and tried to save their youngest daughter, Madelyn.

William and their 8-year-old daughter, Elena, were able to escape.

"I am heartbroken. I have lost the love of my life - my beautiful wife, Jackie - and my sweet, loving, spunky little girl, Madelyn," Montanaro said in a statement.

Montanaro said his wife was a devoted Customs and Border Protection officer and she is a hero.

He said when he rushed back into the home for Madelyn, he became enveloped in thick, hot black smoke.

Jackie didn't hesitate and "charged in with a mother's love and the courage of a police officer fueling her attempt to save our daughter."

The family's beloved dog, Duchess, a Goldendoodle, also died in the fire. The family thanked everyone who helped share posts and physically search for her.

"We are extremely devastated Duchess is no longer with us, but we must remember she is now at rest alongside Jackie and Madelyn," the family said in a statement.

Hazlet Deputy Mayor Peter Terranova says the town is like family and that they have been "overwhelmed by support."

Monmouth County and community groups are accepting donations to help the victims' family members who were displaced by the blaze. So far more than $225,000 has been raised to help the family in a GoFundMe.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office says the fire does not appear to be suspicious.