Officials: Monroe family killed in blaze tried to escape

Officials say the smoke and flames were too intense for rescuers to try to help the family when neighbors called for help.

Blaise Gomez

Feb 24, 2023, 6:19 PM

Updated 515 days ago

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It’s hard to see the charred debris on Highland Avenue in Monroe knowing three lives were lost inside. 
Cellphone video obtained by News 12 shows just how bad the fire was. 
Officials say the smoke and flames were too much for first responders to help the Goldstein family when their home caught fire on Highland Avenue in Monroe Thursday morning. 
“This is one of the worst fires that I’ve responded to,” said Orange County Fire Coordinator Vini Tankasali. “It appears they were trying to go towards the exit of the structure.” 
Tankasali says the bodies of Kalman, Sarah and Miriam Goldstein were found near the back door and stairwell, and that it seems they were trying to escape.  
“Our heart goes out to the family and our first responders. This one is a tough one,” said Tankasali. 
Funeral services for the couple and their daughter were held in Williamsburg Thursday, in accordance with Jewish tradition. 
Sources say the fire may have been caused by a space heater left on in the living room, but authorities have not confirmed that information. 
Officials say they don’t know if the home had working smoke detectors, but that the tragedy serves as a painful reminder for people to check alarm batteries and have an escape plan.  
“You may only have three or four minutes to get out of the house,” said Tankasali. 
Tankasali also recommends people have fire extinguishers on hand.
The deadly fire remains under investigation by local, state and county law enforcement, as well as county fire investigators. 
The tragedy has gripped loved ones and communities in grief from New York and New Jersey, where Miriam went to private school as a kindergartener. 


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