A group of young girls jumped off a second-story balcony to escape a roaring fire that broke out at a New Jersey dance studio and surrounding businesses Monday.
The horrific scene unfolded in Edgewater, N.J., as rescuers tried to lift ladders to the balcony and the girls tried to lower themselves to safety. No children were seriously hurt during the escape, Edgewater Mayor Michael McPartland said, according to NJ.com. Around 15 girls were treated for minor injuries.
A video taken at the scene of the incident showed the children gripping the railings of the studio’s balcony, attempting to land on ladders provided by rescuers on the ground below. While some were able to make use of the ladders, others leapt down from the balcony and were carried off by rescuers below.
Speaking to reporters after the fire was contained Monday night, McPartland said a local businessman and a police officer were the first on the scene. The mayor praised their quick thinking and said it helped saved the girls trapped in the dance studio.
“It was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen,” McPartland said, according to NorthJersey.com.
“It was kind of dramatic,” he added.
In addition to a dance studio, the building complex hit by the fire Monday included a car wash, a small restaurant, an auto body shop and a spa. A tunnel of dark smoke produced by the fire could be seen from surrounding towns Monday evening, including upper Manhattan.
The fire began before 7 p.m. and the cause of it was still unknown later Monday evening, according to NJ.com.