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Mom, 5 kids jump from third floor of burning building in New Jersey

A 39-year-old mother and her five children, including three younger than age 10, jumped from the third floor of a burning building in Newark, N.J., as flames closed in around them early Wednesday, authorities said.

The fire erupted in an apartment building with no fire escapes on South Orange Avenue shortly after midnight, officials say. A preliminary investigation suggests the blaze started by accident, authorities said.

The mother and her children, ages 6, 8, 9, 14 and 17, had moved into their apartment earlier this week and did not yet have electricity. They were using candles while they waited for their appointment with the power company, which had been scheduled for Wednesday. A candle in the bathroom is suspected of starting the fire.

View NBCNewYork.com's coverage of family's dramatic leap

All six of the victims were recovering at University Hospital and are expected to recover. The teenage daughters suffered broken toes in the fall. They told NBC 4 New York they jumped out of the window and someone caught them, but their mother leaped out too quickly and landed on the ground.

Felicia Avent, who lives in the building, described a frightening scene.

"It happened so fast," Avent said. "I heard yelling, 'Help my kids, help my kids.' I grabbed my own kids. I was getting out of there."

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