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Girls jump from balcony to escape Edgewater dance studio fire

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People jump from balcony to escape Edgewater fire People jump from balcony to escape Edgewater fire
EDGEWATER -

Several girls were forced to jump for their lives to escape a large fire at an Edgewater dance studio.

Business owner Tony Nehmi told reporters that he and a police officer helped some of the girls down before the ladders fell during the fire that broke out around 7 p.m. Monday.

The rest of the girls leaped from the balcony and were pulled away from the high flames.

Edgewater Mayor Michel Joseph McPartland says that about 15 girls were treated for minor injuries and said that it was "one of the bravest things I've ever seen." 

The dramatic scene was captured on video.

The owner of the dance studio expressed thanks and gratitude to the first responders and good Samaritans who helped the girls escape.

Student Samera Lee, 14, tells News 12 New Jersey that she was taking a singing class when the fire started. She says that she barely had time to think about the danger due to how fast the fire was moving.

“People were telling me it was bad. I didn’t realize there was so much chaos,” she says. “Now looking at the video, I never thought that it would happen.”

Lee sustained a few minor injuries from falling down but is otherwise OK.

The building on Old River Road also houses a hookah lounge, auto body shop and car wash. Old River Road was closed for several hours, but reopened Tuesday morning.

Parts of the building were being demolished Tuesday evening. The cause of the fire wasn't immediately clear.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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