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13-Year-Old Girl Dead, Dozens More Sickened By Carbon Monoxide In Perth Amboy Building

PERTH AMBOY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A girl is dead and dozens of others, among them numerous police officers, were sickened by carbon monoxide fumes in Perth Amboy, New Jersey Thursday.

The fumes sickened the victims inside an apartment building at 185 Fayette St. in Perth Amboy around 4 p.m., a city official said.

Officials said a 13-year-old girl died, and 41 people in all were sickened – including 27 police officers.

Three people were in critical condition late Thursday, all of them related to the girl who died, officials said.

On a frigid day during a snowstorm, the entire building had to be evacuated, CBS2's Jessica Layton reported. Maravalla Morales, who lives in the building, was shaking hours later - and it had nothing to do with the cold.

"Six people are in the hospital and she's rather scared," an interpreter said for Morales.

With her friend interpreting, the mother of five said she saw half a dozen of her neighbors on a hallway floor just before four o'clock.

"All the police were knocking very hard on the doors, telling people they had to evacuate; had to get out; couldn't be in another minute there," she said.

"Really bad, really bad," said Miriam Herrera, whose parents live in the building. "Everybody was scared."

After the 911 call, it took first responders 60 seconds to arrive -- not a minute too soon.

"They entered the building and found people unconscious in the hallway, started CPR and got occupants out of the building," said Perth Amboy police Chie Roman McKeon.

Firefighters late Thursday were still searching for the source, saying they would be examining every appliance top to bottom in the building.

"When it's cold, temperatures like this people will use space heaters and alternative methods to stay warm if they're heating systems aren't working," said Perth Amboy Fire Chief Edward Mullen. "They're important to have a carbon monoxide alarms and every apartment."

The City of Perth Amboy put up displaced residents in a hotel Thursday night. There were 12 apartment units.

Meanwhile, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's office was looking at whether there were carbon monoxide detectors in every unit, while the Perth Amboy Fire Department was warning people to make sure they had working carbon monoxide detectors.

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