NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — The investigation continues into a deadly fire that gutted a New Bedford rooming house Tuesday afternoon.

New Bedford Fire Chief Scott Kruger confirmed Wednesday that two people were found dead inside Royal Crown Lodging on Acushnet Avenue.

The first victim, identified as 59-year-old Manuel Moreira, lived on the fourth floor and was removed from the building Tuesday night. The second victim, who has not been identified, was found Wednesday afternoon as firefighters demolished the building piece by piece, according to Kruger.

The fire chief said at least five tenants were injured in the fire, which quickly engulfed the building and shrouded the neighborhood in thick, black smoke.

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Kruger said firefighters rescued at least three residents, while several others were forced to jump from their windows.

Jason Gilmore leapt to safety from a second-floor fire escape with several other tenants.

“It was too much,” the third-floor resident recalled. “I tried to make it out of my room but all I could see was smoke. I tried making it down the stairs and I couldn’t … the fire was coming up too quickly.”

Gilmore tells 12 News he feels lucky to be alive.

“I thank God that I’m still here,” he said.

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Kruger said the displaced tenants are being assisted by the American Red Cross and Seven Hills Behavioral Health.

Firefighters initially started searching inside the building for tenants, but were forced out as conditions rapidly deteriorated.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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