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Elderly Couple Unaccounted For After Fire Rips Through Home In Teaneck

TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A husband and wife in their 80s were missing late Sunday after a morning fire ripped through their home in New Jersey.

As CBS2's Reena Roy reported, flames and smoke engulfed the Sherman Avenue house in the early Sunday morning hours.

"The fire was about 30, 40 feet above the house and the fire was flying out the windows," said neighbor Ed Glasser.

The chaotic scene woke people up just after 6 a.m.

"Around 6:15, there was an explosion and I thought it was a dream," Glasser said.

"My son woke up and looked out the window and said there's a house on fire on the block," said Bud Glick, who lives a few doors down. "Came out, and the house was in flames."

"All of a sudden, I hear a deep, deep, loud boom and I was like, 'Oh my God. what happened?'" said neighbor Carol Suraci.

They were peering out their windows trying to see the neighbors' house on fire, while firefighters were out in force trying to get the blaze under control.

"It just continued and continued and got bigger and bigger so quickly," Suraci said.

The fire rapidly reached three alarms. Investigators late Sunday were still trying to determine if the owners of the home – an elderly couple – were inside at the time.

"Very nice people," Glasser said. "This whole block is so friendly; we are so close, nobody moves."

Two police officers attempted to go into the house, but the smoke was just too much.

"Two police officers who tried to make the initial entry into the building have smoke inhalation" said Acting Teaneck Fire Chief Jordan Zaretsky.

After the fire, the home that burned was reduced to charred-out remains. Andrea Schuman lives across the road.

"Everybody's really shaken up about it," she told WCBS 880's Mike Smeltz.

All that was left after the fire was the brick chimney and a bit of the home's frame, Smeltz reported.

Embers also spread to the houses next door.

The Teaneck Police Benevolent Association Local 215 has set up a GoFundMe for the Schreck family, who lived in the home next door – saying much of the children's clothes, shoes, and general comforts were destroyed.

"Every minute -- not every hour, every single minute -- be grateful and loving and forgiving, because we never know when anything's going to happen," Glasser said.

Fire officials now have to go in once the structure is deemed safe to determine a cause.


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