A house fire that killed an 83-year-old woman during Tuesday’s storm was likely sparked by an unattended candle lit during a power outage in her Waldwick neighborhood, authorities said.
Valentina Turley died in the blaze that was reported around 6:40 p.m. on Van Court, according to a statement from borough police. A preliminary investigation by local police and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office pointed to the candle.
Turley’s home was severely damaged in the three-alarm fire, which took about 90 minutes to bring under control, officials said. Responders arrived to find the residence already largely consumed by flames, and quickly called-in more firefighters and emergency medical crews from nearby towns.
“We would ask everyone to keep in your prayers the homeowner who did not survive the fire,” Mayor Tom Giordano said in a message on social media.
Powerful thunderstorms battered North Jersey late Tuesday afternoon, knocking out electricity to thousands of utility customers. The Waldwick-area was among hard hit sections of Bergen County that saw countless downed trees and wires.
It was not immediately clear if the death would be officially designated as storm-related.