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3 dead in New Jersey house fire

February 17, 2013 3:17:17 PM PST
Three men are dead after a house fire early Sunday morning in Orange, New Jersey.

Fire investigators spent the morning combing through the burned-out shell of 374 Reock Street. The three-story home, now sitting empty with no heat or water, was where 4 men took refuge overnight with disastrous results. The broke out shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, and an alert female Orange police officer jumped into action.

The firefighters were unable to save the three men, who were trapped inside the house.

Police say that the men were apparently squatters.

They died of burns and smoke inhalation.

The fire was reported by Orange police officer Ada Vasquez, who was on routine patrol in the area when she smelled smoke.

Vasquez and fellow officer Anthony Holmes broke down the front door and rescued one man. But the fire's intense flames and heat prevented them from rescuing the others.

It's believed that a heating device ignited the fire.

The names of the victims have not yet been released.

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