2 dead in Brooklyn apartment fire

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EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn — Two women are dead after a fire broke out at a Brooklyn apartment early Wednesday.

The blaze erupted shortly after 1:30 a.m. on the first floor deli and quickly spread through the four-story apartment building along Belmont Avenue in East New York.

According to the fire marshals, the fire was caused by a space heater.

About 133 firefighters responded to the scene, FDNY Chief John Esposito said.

Two adult women were found in serious condition on the third floor of the apartment building, officials said. They were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Fire officials said there was no working smoke alarm in their apartment.

Two civilians suffered non-life-threatening injuries and several people were rescued from the building.

Three firefighters were also treated for injuries and have been released from the hospital, FDNY said.

Residents of the building told PIX11 News they were trapped by the smoke so they had to exit through the fire escape — some with children.

Mohammed Nawaz lives with his wife and two children, ages 4 and 2. He climbed down the fire escape, "It was very scary. I have two little babies as I'm climbing down. I was worried about my kids," he said.

Another victim, Fransisco Cruz, lives right above the deli with his wife and two children, ages 3 and 8. "[The smoke] was very thick. You couldn't see or breathe. We just grabbed stuff and got out as quick as possible."

The American Red Cross assisted 18 families, including 47 adults and 25 children. The organization will provide emergency housing, emergency funds for food and clothing, emergency supplies and health and emotional support.

There are concerns of damage caused to the floors of the building, and the Department of Buildings will make an evaluation regarding the building's stability and assess when residents can return, Esposito said.

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