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Susan Nash dies in Hunterdon County, N.J. fire

Published On: Feb 11 2013 04:22:00 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 12 2013 04:34:18 AM CST

Woman killed in fire in Hunterdon County

HOLLAND TWP., Pa. -

A fire claimed a Hunterdon Co., N.J., woman's life Sunday night, despite her boyfriend's desperate attempt to save her.

The fire broke out around 10 p.m. in Holland Township, just across the Delaware River from Riegelsville, Bucks Co., Pa.

"Even though it was dark, you could see the smoke coming up through the tress," said one neighbor. "It looked like the house was pretty well burning."

Firefighters arrived at the home on Hawk Schoolhouse Road to find Charles Runge waiting in the front yard.

Runge, 54, was severely burned while battling the flames and trying to save his girlfriend, Susan Nash, and his 11-year-old son.

Nash, 52, died. Runge and the boy survived and were last reported to be hospitalized in critical condition.

"I wasn't surprised. He was like that in school growing up and stuff. I could see him doing that," said neighbor Debbie Waisempacher, who grew up with Runge and knew his son. For the most part, she said, the family kept to itself.

The family's home, a one-time farmhouse dating back to the 1800s, sits down a long lane. It uses wood as its primary source of heat.

The fire is still under investigation, but officials said it appears it started accidentally near the stove.

"You feel guilty because you're thankful it's not your family. In the same way, you wish it didn't happen, you know," said neighbor Matt Radecky.

The family's dog and cat also died in the fire.

The Hunterdon County prosecutor's office issued a statement offering condolences to the family.