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Daughter of 9/11 pilot dies in high-rise fire
Tragedy strikes a New Jersey family again
(Guttenberg-WABC, Dec. 5, 2006) - Tragedy strikes a family again after one woman died in a smoky four-alarm fire that tore through a high-rise in Guttenberg, N.J., Tuesday morning.
Officials say the victim's father was a pilot who died on 9/11 when his plane crashed into the Pentagon.
The fire that killed her and her two dogs is considered suspicious.
The victim's fiance managed to escape safely.
The fire broke out at the Galaxy high-rise on Boulevard East.
Flames reportedly broke out around 12:30 a.m. and took three hours to put out.
Officials say the fire began in the bedroom of the apartment and the smoke quickly filled the building.
The flames could be seen shooting out of the tenth floor, sometimes up to 20 feet from the building.
The victim has been identified as 32-year-old Wendy Burlingame. She was one of the surviving daughters of Charles Burlingame, a decorated aviator and the pilot of American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon on September 11.
Officials say Wendy Burlingame moved into the building only a month ago and was living with a man authorities identify as Kevin Roderick.
The downstairs neighbor claims he heard loud noises in upstairs apartment before the fire erupted.
"We heard people running around, and then we heard a thump," resident Sebastian Rojas said. "Then the alarm came off, so we just left."
Flames shot out the window of apartment 10A, creating enough heat that temperatures reached more than 800 degrees.
Burlingame's charred body was found in the hallway between the bedroom and the kitchen. The remains of two dogs were also found in the living room. Roderick escaped the apartment with only minor injuries. Authorities say alcohol may have played a role in the events leading up to the fire.
Numerous other residents and firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
Between 20 and 30 people were evacuated from their apartments, including singing star Melba Moore, a singer and actress best known for her Broadway and film work.
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, but officials say no accelerant was involved.
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