Vigil held to remember mother and daughter killed in Hazlet house fire

Jackie Montanaro is being called a hero for rushing back into her burning home to save her 6-year-old daughter Madelyn. But both were unable to make it out of the home alive.

News 12 Staff

Jan 18, 2023, 1:43 AM

Updated 542 days ago

Share:

A large group gathered Tuesday evening to honor a mother and daughter who died in a house fire in Hazlet on Friday.
Jackie Montanaro is being called a hero for rushing back into her burning home to save her 6-year-old daughter Madelyn. But both were unable to make it out of the home alive.
The fire broke out just after midnight on Friday.
Jackie’s husband Will Montanaro and the couple’s 8-year-old daughter Elena survived.
Will Montanaro spoke at the vigil. He said that he tried to get back into the home when he realized that Madelyn was not outside with the family. But he says that the flames and smoke were too intense.
“I got outside and I said, ‘That’s it. We’ve got to wait for the professionals to get in, because there’s no way in hell we’re getting into this house.’ [My wife] just looked at me and didn’t want to hear it,” he said.
Jackie was a first responder herself, working as an officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“She just bolted back in that house,” Will said.
Jackie died a hero at the age of 40. She made many people proud, including her father.
"Jackie came into my life when she was 6 years old and captured my heart,” said Joe Autera, Jackie’s father.
The family has one simple request – keep Jackie and Madelyn’s memories alive.
“Introduce Jackie and Mady to the world. Make the difference they no longer can,” Autera said.
Will Montanaro said the fire alarms woke them up early Friday morning. He says he ran downstairs and saw that the electrical box was on fire.
The official cause of the fire is still under investigation. Will says he is trying to stay focused on giving his surviving daughter the care she needs.


More from News 12