She was a devoted supervisor for Customs and Border Protection. She was a mother. And on Friday, Jackie Montanaro lost her life heroically while trying to save her daughter from a blaze at her burning house.
Shortly after midnight, their house in Hazlet, New Jersey caught fire.
Mom dies trying to rescue her daughter from a house fire in Hazlet,NJ candlelight vigil for mother and daughter held tonight. @fox5ny @StevenLacy @NatashaVermaTV @Fox5Teresa pic.twitter.com/29ykBG77lP— Sharon Crowley (@sharoncrowleyny) January 17, 2023
William Montanaro said he and his 8-year-old daughter escaped the flames. So did his wife, Jackie Montanaro. However, as soon as Jackie realized her 6-year-old girl was still inside the burning home, she ran back inside.
The husband said when he went back inside, he was turned around by the smoke, but Jackie and their younger daughter, Madelyn Montanaro, never made it out of the house alive.
Condolences and support for William Montanaro and the couple’s surviving daughter, Elena, have been pouring in online since the fire occurred at the family home on Brookside Avenue early Friday. https://t.co/07yeoQ2YJE— Asbury Park Press (@AsburyParkPress) January 15, 2023
William said in the statement, “Without hesitation, Jackie then charged in with a mother’s love and the courage of a police officer fueling her attempt to save our daughter”.
“I am heartbroken. I have lost the love of my life – my beautiful wife, Jackie – and my sweet, loving, spunky little girl, Madelyn,” the statement said.
Duchess, a Goldendoodle owned by the family, perished in the fire as well.
The cause of the fire remains unclear; however, officials said it does not appear to be suspicious.
A GoFundMe has received more than $320,000 in donations so far to support the family.
According to NJ.com, a vigil to honor Jackie, 39, and Madelyn, 6, was held at a nearby park on Tuesday night.