A Newburgh mother was killed in a fire while her son was injured. Newburgh residents are demanding answers.

On Wednesday, June 15, around 10:45 p.m, the City of Newburgh Fire Department was told about a reported kitchen fire at a home on 68 Lander Street in the City of Newburgh, New York.

Fire Fighters Respond To Fire At 68 Lander Street in City of Newburgh

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Responding firefighters reported a large amount of smoke coming from all three floors of a middle-of-the-block, row-type brick house, with visible fire on the first and second floors.

As soon as firefighters arrived on the scene, they also noticed an adult man jumping from a third-story window and landing on the front steps of the building. The man was reported to be severely injured by the jump, on top of injuries from the blaze.

Man Injured, Woman Trapped Inside Burning Home

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Fire officials were also told a woman was trapped near a window on the third floor of the building.

Two crew members tried to get into the home, but due to severe fire conditions, they were unable to get into the house, officials say. Also due to wires across the front of the buildings, the Ladder truck was unable to operate.

About 30 minutes after arriving on the scene, as firefighters help reduce the flames, they spotted the missing woman leaning partially out of the third-floor window. Unfortunately, an additional attempt to reach her with the ground ladder was again prevented by severe fire conditions venting out the window above her, officials say.

Newburgh, New York Mother Killed In Home Fire

Debra Benedict/FB
Debra Benedict/FB
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By the time firefighters could reach the woman, she was found dead at the scene, according to the City of Newburgh Fire Department. She was later identified as Debra Benedict.

"If anybody deserved heaven it was u … we lost an angel on earth last night 💜 everybody pray for Justin," Dee Epps wrote on Facebook.

Her son Justin was the person who was injured jumping from the home.

The cause of the fire was determined to be a cooking oil fire that the occupant threw water onto and created a larger fire, officials say.

"Smoke detectors in the home did function, but the fire had already enveloped the stairway that people would have used to get out of the building. There are no requirements for fire extinguishers or fire escapes in today’s one or two-family buildings," the City of Newburgh Fire Department stated in a press release.

Debra Benedict/FB/City of Newburgh
Debra Benedict/FB/City of Newburgh
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Members of the Newburgh community are demanding answers following the fatal fire. Officials say recent cuts to the fire department have lowered the number of firefighters on duty from ten to seven.

"It is our opinion that applying water immediately would have made an enormous difference in the outcome of this fire. In total it took five companies from the City of Newburgh and eight mutual aid companies to bring this fire under control," City of Newburgh Firefighters IAFF Local 589 stated in a press release. "The members on the scene did the best they could with the limited resources they had, unfortunately, it was not enough."

City of Newburgh Firefighters IAFF Local 589
City of Newburgh Firefighters IAFF Local 589
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The City of Newburgh Firefighters IAFF Local 589 shared the above photo on Facebook to show how drastically the fire department has changed from 2019 to 2022.

Three firefighters were injured during the blaze.

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