Up to 10 girls narrowly escaped a fire-engulfed second-floor dance studio in Edgewater, New Jersey, on Monday, some jumping to save themselves and others rescued by the heroism of a local cop and a wine merchant, Mayor Michael McPartland told HuffPost on Tuesday.
Terrifying video showed many of the girls having to leap while people below rushed in with ladders. Girls can be seen dangling until they dropped.
Miraculously, none of the girls was seriously injured, McPartland said, but many were taken to the hospital with ankle sprains and other minor injuries caused by their falls.
McPartland said he happened to be down the street when flames erupted through the Professional Arts Academy, and he witnessed the tail end of the drama as girls jumped to the ground.
While the mayor noted the valor of many, he singled out Edgewater police officer Jimmy Dalton and wine merchant Tony Nehmi for rescuing two of the girls who remained behind as smoke and flames consumed the second floor.
Dalton and Nehmi climbed to a window on the other side of the building and shattered it with the ladder, helping the two girls to safety, McPartland said.
“Everybody did an outstanding job,” McPartland said. He called the community’s effort “one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen,” per NBC.
According to NJ.com, the building also housed a hookah lounge and auto body shop.