Kenilworth fire claims life of elderly resident

Photo by Brian Trusdell
A 68-year-old woman died in her second-floor apartment on Jan. 8.

KENILWORTH, NJ — An elderly woman died in a three-alarm fire that swept through the upper floor of a two-family home in Kenilworth on Monday, Jan. 8, Kenilworth Police Chief John Zimmerman confirmed.

Emma Gordon, 68, was found dead inside her apartment at 223 North Ninth Ave., from smoke inhalation, Zimmerman said in a Jan. 12 phone interview. Although no definitive cause has yet been determined, officials believe the fire was caused by a heating unit in a front living room area. Foul play is not suspected, Zimmerman said.

Police arrived at 6:09 p.m. to find the upper floor fully engulfed in flames. Two occupants of the lower-floor apartment, a mother and her daughter, were evacuated by police and informed officers that Gordon lived upstairs. The officers broke the front door down and attempted to enter the apartment but were driven back by intense heat, flames and smoke, Zimmerman said.

Mutual aid fire crews from Kenilworth and Union helped to extinguish the fire.