2 killed, 70 displaced in East New York fire

Posted: Updated:
EAST NEW YORK -

An early morning fire on Belmont Avenue killed two women and displaced more than 70 people.

Firefighters pulled the two women from a third-floor apartment. News 12 is told they may be related, possibly a mother and daughter. Authorities did not immediately release their identities.

It sparked around 1 a.m. from a space heater in a ground-level deli, fire officials say. Cellphone video taken by witnesses shows the extent of the flames.

"When I got up, the house was completely covered in smoke," says Francisco Cruz, who lives above the deli and escaped safely with his family. "We got out."

Neighbors, friends and good Samaritans arrived after the fire was extinguished to help clean up debris and salvage what they could.

"We start over if we all stand together," says Seljeana Pauling, an East New York resident who brought food for the displaced families. "We can help them figure that out, maybe, or be a support system."

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