EDGEWATER, NEW JERSEY - A viral video doing the rounds on the Internet shows young girls jumping or dropping from a second-storey balcony to escape a fire that engulfed their New Jersey dance studio on Monday (April 9) night, even as bystanders tried to rescue them with ladders.
The screaming children either fell into the arms of rescuers or hit the ground before being pulled away from the blaze in the town of Edgewater, which sits by the Hudson River just north of New York City, reported NBC News.
About 15 girls were treated for minor injuries after their dramatic escape, according to Edgewater Mayor Michel Joseph McPartland.
Mr Ilker Kesiktas, who shot the video, said that efforts to put out the blaze with a fire extinguisher were futile. That's when he and several other people set up ladders to rescue them, and when the flames got too high, encouraged them to jump to safety.
"I was the one who called the fire department. It was... I don't want to think about it. I had trouble sleeping last night. It was crazy," Mr Kesiktas told NBC News. "We got a fire extinguisher, and we just started blowing it, but it was just doing nothing."
Mr Tony Nehmi, a business owner, told NJ.com that he and a police officer helped some girls down from the balcony before the ladders fell during the fire.
Mayor McPartland told NBC New York it was "one of the bravest things I've ever seen".
The cause of the fire at the building, which also houses a hookah lounge and auto body shop, was being investigated.