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New Jersey fire kills 4, injures 3

From Chris Kokenes, CNN
  • Three people die on scene of three-alarm fire that hit 3 homes
  • A fourth person dies while being transported to hospital after jumping from 3rd floor
  • Three hospitalized, one in critical condition and two in non-life threatening condition
  • Cause of fire is under investigation

New York (CNN) -- Firefighters sifted through debris Wednesday morning after a three-alarm fire ripped through three homes in Paterson, New Jersey, leaving four people dead and three hospitalized.

The fire, reported at 2:41 a.m. ET, destroyed one home and quickly spread to two neighboring houses, causing significant debris and damage, fire officials said.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Paterson Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Murray said three bodies, of two men and one woman, had been recovered in the ruins and that a fourth woman was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital after jumping from the third floor of one of the homes.

Three other people were transported to St. Joseph's Paterson Hospital on Wednesday with injuries from the fire, according to fire officials. One man, who Murray said also jumped from the third floor, was in critical condition with multiple traumas and fractures to his legs. Two victims are being treated for smoke inhalation and are in non-life threatening condition, Murray said.

The cause of the fire is not known and is under investigation, Paterson Deputy Fire Chief Scott MacGilvray said.

"We're bringing in heavy equipment and dogs and will complete searches as safely and quickly as possible," MacGilvray said.

More than 70 firefighters from Paterson, Clifton and Passaic, New Jersey, were brought in to battle the fire, which was brought under control at 5:30 a.m.

"The cause of the fire is still under review as the majority of the building burned down and collapsed.

There is a considerate amount of debris to sort through and investigate this," said Murray.

Eleven people have been displaced and are seeking assistance from the Red Cross.

CNN's Jessica Naziri