Video of the harrowing incident shows some of the six girls trapped on a balcony as flames consume the Edgewater building where the dance students had been rehearsing.
By contrast, Nina Twomey said that Nehmi's and other good samaritans' swift action made a world of difference. It became very clear, very fast, that the ladders were not tall enough, so bystanders told the children to jump into their waiting arms.
The fire broke out in a dance studio on Monday evening.
"I was one of the last people to jump off", said Nina Twomey, 12, about the emergency that unfolded around 6:30 p.m. Monday.
The ladders were too short to reach the balcony and kept falling over, so Twomey said she made a decision to jump down.
Despite the ferocity of the fire no serious injuries were reported.
Business owner Tony Nehmi told NJ.com he and a police officer helped some of the girls down before the ladders fell during the fire.
Remarkably, no one was seriously hurt, though about 15 children were treated for minor injuries. They didn't know what to do - the girls were trapped on the second floor. They helped the girls and the dance studio members evacuate from the second floor.
Then, the fire department appeared and was able to get them off the roof, he said.
The fire is believed to have started on the first floor, where the Edgewater International Auto Body and a vehicle wash are located, before spreading to the rest of the building. Some children are seen jumping onto the ladders, and, eventually, the people on the balcony are forced to fall 10 feet to the ground below.
The building that caught fire houses multiple businesses including the dance studio and a hookah lounge.
The cause of the fire is now under investigation.