Twelve people made narrow escapes from a two-alarm structure fire at 18 Erie Street in the West End section of Port Jervis mid-morning on Thursday. Ten of the 12 were forced to jump from a second-floor window located in the rear of the house. They found themselves in thick, choking smoke and flames around them as they jumped to the ground below. The other two made their way through a suddenly smoke-blackened downstairs to a front door exit.
Despite the rapid arrival of firefighters and immediate water on the blaze, within minutes of a neighbor’s call to 911, the house was consumed in fire that extended throughout the structure at a rapid pace.
Residents and family of the victims said the 10 upstairs chose to jump, fearing they would die if they remained in the house.