Heroic N.J. Woman Missing After Rescuing Pets from Fire

HILLSIDE, N.J. — Just two days before Thanksgiving, a New Jersey family is grappling with an unbearable tragedy. Following a fire that swept through their Hillside home, one family member is still missing.

A neighbor recorded the heartbreaking moment when flames consumed the residence on Conant Street. Dorian Guzman described the fire as “terrible.”

The blaze erupted around 3 a.m. on Tuesday. According to fire officials, three family members managed to escape, but a woman went back into the flames to rescue a pet. “A woman went back inside to get the dog, and she never came back out,” shared Victor Manuel, a friend of the family.

“That was the last time the person was seen,” stated Hillside Deputy Fire Chief Keith Ryan at the scene. Neighbors expressed their sadness, describing the family as “very good people” who had recently renovated their home.

“They just finished doing some work on the house. The house is beautiful,” Manuel added. Now, just two days before Thanksgiving, investigators are examining the charred remains of the structure and a burned-out car, trying to determine the cause of the tragedy.

Authorities noted that the fire’s intensity currently prevents them from pinpointing its origin. George Carreno identified the missing woman as his sister, Edith. As the charred debris soaked in the rain Tuesday night, Carreno expressed disbelief while standing on his neighbor’s porch.

“I’ll figure it out as I go along,” he said. Recalling the fire’s onset at 3 a.m., Carreno remembered hearing Edith’s urgent warnings. “‘Wake up, there’s a fire, get out of the house, call 911.’ She said it twice,” Carreno recounted.

He, along with his elderly mother and daughter, managed to escape. However, his 46-year-old sister went back inside to search for the family dog, Bailey.

“I called out for her, ‘Edie, where are you?’ No response. I wanted to go in there. If even a peep, I hear, ‘I’m over here,’ I would’ve run in and taken her out. But nothing,” Carreno lamented.

As the fire engulfed the home, Edith’s whereabouts remained unknown. Their bodies have not been recovered. “She was down there somewhere, and she just never came out,” Carreno said.

For Carreno, the heartbreak is twofold. Despite years of distance, he and his sister had recently grown close, developing a strong family bond. “She was fun. She liked to laugh. She liked to go out. She was happy-go-lucky,” Carreno recalled.

In a strange way, he finds comfort in believing that his sister, through her early morning warnings, saved his life. “Whatever it was she did in her life, she completed, and it was just God’s way of saying this is her time to go. You gotta hope to God that she’s in the right place now,” he said.

The family anticipates crews will return in the morning to sift through the rubble, holding on to hope that they will find Edith.


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