Officials: Mother killed, 2 daughters injured when home collapses

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Authorities say that a woman killed in a Mercer County house collapse shielded her youngest daughter as the structure came down.

The 16-year-old daughter and her 20-year-old sister survived the collapse but were seriously injured. They remain hospitalized, and further details on their injuries haven't been disclosed.

Neighbors identified the mother as 38-year-old Tika Justice. Officials say that Justice and her 16-year-old daughter were found on the second-floor front bedroom after the collapse. Justice was on top of her daughter, according to crews on the scene.

The home was located on the 1800 block of South Broad Street in Hamilton just before 7 a.m. 

The cause of the collapse is under investigation. Fire officials say that they have ruled out an explosion as a possible cause of the collapse because debris did not explode outward. Officials say that the house “pancaked” down on itself.

The Hamilton fire chief says that the 20-year-old daughter was able to get partially out of the house before it collapsed and called 911. The chief says that the house collapsed around her while she was on the phone. Crews were able to locate her and pull her out.

It took over an hour to get to Justice and her teenage daughter due to the amount of debris.

VIDEO: Hamilton Township fire, police departments discuss house collapse

The three women were the only people inside the house at the time of the collapse.

Officials say that the home was last inspected in 2013 and at that time it was approved for a new certificate of occupancy. They say that there were no known structural issues with the house.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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