A New Jersey mother died after rushing back into her burning home in an attempt to save her six-year-old daughter’s life.
Both Jackie Montanaro, 40, and six-year-old Madelyn died in the flames that engulfed their Hazlet home while the family slept around 12:30 p.m., WABC reported.
William Montanaro, wife Jackie and 8-year-old daughter Elena were able to escape their burning home, but Madelyn was nowhere to be seen.
Both William and Jackie returned home to try to save her, but neither Jackie nor Madelyn made it out alive.
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William said Jackie, who worked as a Customs and Border Protection agent, was a “hero,” according to a statement obtained by WABC.
“When I came home for Madelyn, I was engulfed in an enormous amount of thick, hot black smoke. Without hesitation, Jackie charged with the love of a mother and the courage of a police officer. police that fueled their attempt to save our daughter,” said the grieving father.
The family dog, a Goldendoodle named Duchess, also died in the tragedy.
“I am heartbroken. I have lost the love of my life, my beautiful wife, Jackie, and my sweet, loving, strong little girl, Madelyn,” his statement read.
“We are extremely devastated that the Duchess is no longer with us, but we must remember that she is now at rest with Jackie and Madelyn.”
Hazlet Deputy Mayor Peter Terranova said the borough, located an hour outside of New York City, has rallied in support of the family following the tragedy.
“This township is like a family and when a neighbor is hurt, a family member is hurt,” Terranova said.
According to Terranova, the family was “very popular in the city” and “very helpful, (a) very close-knit family in the community and we are all grieving. It is a tremendous loss.”
The Monmouth County District Attorney’s Office said the fire does not appear to be suspicious in nature, although the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
This article was originally published by the New York Post and is reproduced with permission.
Mother originally billed as a ‘hero’ dies after setting fire to house again to try to save 6-year-old daughter.