After a fire broke out at the Professional Arts Academy in Edgewater, New Jersey, frantic students were seen jumping from a second-floor balcony as the flames tore through the building on Monday.
People below put up ladders and tried to catch the young students as they fell to the ground.
“Five people have been transported to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries,” Edgewater Fire Chief Steve Curry said at the scene, according to USA Today. The fire broke out around 6:45 p.m. at the rear of the building on the first floor. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
In a tweet, the Professional Arts Academy thanked well-wishers for their support following the fire.
“Thank you all for your support,” the statement read. “We are completely devastated. We thank God our students & teachers are safe.”
Mayor Michael McPartland told reporters that local businessman Tony Nehme helped catch the girls, who were trapped inside the building. “It was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen,” he said, adding: “It’s a miracle with the heavy fire we had on arrival that everyone got out the way they did.”
Nehme told NorthJersey.com that he and his friend saw the fire, jumped in their car and got to the scene.
“When we got there it was a big surprise,” he said. “Everyone was jumping from the windows… everyone was screaming and crying. I was maybe the first to get there.”
When he saw the two girls, he went up to the second floor with the ladder and got them down.
In another video, a Twitter user from N.Y.C. captured footage of the blaze from across the Hudson River.
Another Twitter user posted a video of the fire, which broke out just one block away from her apartment.
McPartland told reporters that the building also houses a car wash, restaurant, auto body shop and a health spa in addition to the dance studio.