A small New Jersey town is reeling with the devastating loss of a mother and her six-year-old daughter after a house fire took their lives.T
40-year old Jackie Montanaro and 6-year-old Madelyn, along with the family’s pet dog Duchess, were killed early last Saturday morning when a fire broke out in their home from as-of-yet unknown reasons.
They are survived by husband William and 8-year-old daughter Elena. The entire family was asleep at the time of the fire.
ABC News wrote of the tragic event:
William Montanaro, along with his 40-year-old wife, Jackie Montanaro, their two daughters — 8-year-old Elena and 6-year-old Madelyn — and their Goldendoodle named Duchess were all sleeping inside their home approximately 40 miles south of New York City when the fire erupted.
William Montanaro, his wife Jackie and 8-year-old Elena were able to escape from the burning home but when the Montanaros realized that 6-year-old Madelyn was nowhere to be seen, both parents rushed back into the house in an attempt to save her from the burning building.
In a written statement following the loss of his wife, a Customs and Border Protection officer, and his youngest daughter, William Montanaro described Jackie as a “hero” who was fueled by a combination of a “mother’s love” and courage of a police officer” to return to the burning house in an ultimately futile and fatal effort to rescue her trapped daughter.
“Jackie was a hero,” William Montanaro said. “When I rushed back into the house for Madelyn I became enveloped with a massive amount of thick, hot black smoke. Without hesitation, Jackie then charged in with a mother’s love and the courage of a police officer fueling her attempt to save our daughter.”
“I am heartbroken. I have lost the love of my life – my beautiful wife, Jackie – and my sweet, loving, spunky little girl, Madelyn,” the statement continued. “We are extremely devastated Duchess is no longer with us, but we must remember she is now at rest alongside Jackie and Madelyn.”
The small community’s Deputy Mayor, Peter Terranova,” shared that the small township is like a community and that when a “neighbor is hurting, a family member is hurting.”
“This township is like a family and when a neighbor is hurting, a family member is hurting,” Terranova said. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of support.”
Terranova went on to add that the family was “very popular in town” and they were “very helpful, [a] very community-knit family and we are all grieving. It is a tremendous loss.”
According to ABC, a county prosecutor’s office did not think foul play was suspected, but that they had neither confirmed the origins of the deadly fire.
As of yesterday, a GoFundMe page had received donations from almost four-thousand people and raised more than $250,000 for the grieving family. Funeral arrangements will be taking place later this week.
Featured image: Screen shot, WABC News, via Facebook
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