HAZLET, N.J. – A Customs and Border Protection officer in New Jersey did not survive an attempt to save her young daughter from their burning home in the town of Hazlet, the woman’s husband said.
Jacqueline Montanaro and her six-year-old daughter Madelyn died in the residential blaze early Saturday morning. The woman’s husband William Montanaro and their eight-year-old daughter Elena survived, reported NJ.com.
Fire alarms went off about midnight on Friday/Saturday morning, waking the family. William rushed to find his wife, two daughters and dog to make sure everyone made it out of the burning home safely.
William, Jacqueline and Elena made their way through the smoke-engulfed house. Although it was difficult to navigate, they made their way to safety.
However, Madelyn remained inside, so both parents re-entered the residence to find their daughter and bring her out, according to the news outlet.
“When I rushed back into the house for Madelyn, I became enveloped in a massive amount of thick, hot black smoke,” William said in a statement issued by his brother, Domenico Montanaro, a reporter for NPR.
“Without hesitation, Jackie then charged in with a mother’s love and the courage of a police officer fueling her attempt to save our daughter,” the husband continued.
As plumes of smoke filled the house, William re-emerged empty handed. Sadly, his wife and youngest daughter failed to make it out safely.
Jacqueline and Madelyn were later found and transported to the hospital in critical condition before they both succumbed to their injuries.
“I am heartbroken. I have lost the love of my life – my beautiful wife, Jackie – and my sweet, loving, spunky little girl, Madelyn,” William said, adding that “Jackie was a hero.”
William said that Jacqueline worked as a supervisory U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, Fox News Digital reported.