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Fireworks may be to blame for fire that destroyed multi-unit house in Elizabeth

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A fire destroyed a multi-unit home in Elizabeth Wednesday morning.

Fire officials say flames broke just after 4 a.m. Firefighters were able to safely remove more than 20 people who lived inside.

The home was destroyed after the fire burned for more than two hours.

While investigators say it's too early to pinpoint a cause of the fire, one man who lived in the home told News 12 someone was setting off fireworks from upstairs.

"I was in the bed with headphones on and people were knocking on the door, talking about there was a fire," said the man. "It started in the back of the house where someone was playing with Roman candles and I guess it shot through the front of the house because as you can see, the house is destroyed."

The Elizabeth fire chief tells News 12 the building is going to be declared a loss. They say about 25 residents are getting help from the Red Cross.

"The old-style homes didn't have the fire stops years ago, and once they get into those voids, it just goes from the basement to the attic and that's what we have now," says Chief Thomas McNamara. "It went up the walls, up the floors, just a stubborn fire."

Resident Darrin Lipscomb rented a room at the house for five years. "I lost everything," he said. "Only thing I got is what I got on."

Officials say some fireworks are legal in New Jersey but you must be at least 16 years old to legally purchase or use them. Hand-held and ground-based sparklers and novelty items are legal. But you can't use any fireworks that shoot higher than 12 feet in the air or explode. Any larger fireworks are only available with a valid permit.



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